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You shall not murder.
Exodus 20:13 NRSVue

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) cries out in anger and despair as we witness the brutal war in Ukraine. We condemn Russia for invading and murdering the people of Ukraine without provocation.  

The horror of Russia’s missiles and bombs – that have destroyed and completely leveled entire cities and towns including homes, houses of worship, medical facilities, offices, and utilities – has now been compounded by the evidence of mass murder by the Russian army against Ukrainian civilians during the occupation of their communities. With the retreat of the Russian military from around Kyiv, evidence has mounted from credible sources of torture, rape, and mass graves filled with entire Ukrainian families killed and people bound while executed.  

Lord, have mercy on all who have been brutally murdered and suffered through these attacks. Bring comfort to their remaining family, to their compatriots, and to all who are traumatized by this terror.  

We continue to look on in horror at the assault on the Ukrainian people. As the war escalates, Ukrainians remain trapped without any means of survival or humanitarian corridors of escape due to Russia’s refusal to provide safe passage out of cities like Mariupol.  

Lord, watch over those who are fleeing for their lives and bring them to safety. 

The Russians who have committed these atrocities in Ukraine must be brought to justice. We call upon international bodies, including the United Nations, to investigate and punish war crimes committed by Russia. We commend the International Criminal Court for actively investigating the situation and beginning to collect evidence based on the referrals by many of its members to investigate any past and present allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide committed on any part of the territory of Ukraine by any person. The NCC asks the United States to fully support this investigation by the International Criminal Court.

In light of the continuing evidence of these human rights violations, we applaud the United Nations General Assembly for voting to suspend Russia from its Human Rights Council.

In addition, under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article 7, when the acts being documented in Ukraine are proven to constitute crimes against humanity, in addition to Russia being held accountable, Russian individuals should also be held criminally responsible for “any prohibitive acts committed including murder, extermination, deportation or forcible transfer of population, torture, sexual violence, persecution against an identifiable group, and enforced disappearance of persons, and inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.” 

Lord, reign justice down upon us. 

The NCC calls on President Joe Biden, all elected leaders, and all corporations to further the sanctions against the Russian government and all those who hold any power or influence within its government. Every possible effort must be taken to stop Russia from this continued massacre. 

Lord, give us the moral courageto sacrifice our worldly goods to protect those who are under siege. 

We cannot ignore the hypocrisy of the Russian lie about invading Ukraine to remove the Nazis. That any nation would use such a lie against any country, and in this case a country with a Jewish head of state, is abhorrent to us.  

Lord, liberate us from evil and deception. 

As Christians with interfaith partners, we know that all of our religions seek peace. We also lift up our joint efforts at peacemaking.  

Lord, bring peace to Ukraine. Help us to find a way to create your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.