Ukrainian Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk asked for prayers Monday that God will swiftly grant the Ukrainian army victory over the Russian invaders.

“May the Merciful Lord grant Ukraine victory over its Russian aggressor. May the Lord God grant victory to our Ukrainian army, for which we pray especially today in prayer to our Lord God,” Archbishop Shevchuk said in a video message.

“Today is 21 March 2022 and Ukraine is already experiencing the twenty-sixth day of this unjust, terrible war waged by Russia against the peaceful Ukrainian people and our state,” the archbishop declared.

The archbishop minced no words in his address, insisting that Russia is perpetrating “a real genocide” in the besieged city of Mariupol, where people are dying “not only from enemy weapons but also from hatred. Hundreds of people are dying of hunger, not only in the city but also in its environs.”

The Lord God “allowed us to see the light of day,” Shevchuk said. “But this night blood was shed once more in Ukraine. Our cities and villages trembled once more from the bombings. Once more, screams, cries, and weeping are heard from the Ukrainian land all the way to the heavens, to the ears of God.”

Along with genocide, the archbishop accused Russia of “crimes against humanity” in the Russian-occupied territories, where daily stories emerge of “murders, looting, rape.”

At the same time, people are “protesting against their oppressors and murderers,” he continued, demonstrating that “they want to live in a Ukrainian, independent, free state.”

The archbishop also launched his own protest against “a wave of forcible deportation of Ukrainian citizens” to Russia, a foreign state.

Shevchuk publicly thanked rescue workers who are working day and night to provide heating and gas, while also putting out fires.

“How important it is for the whole world, the whole world community, to be like those rescuers who are regaining the space of life in the face of war. Who build peace and save people’s lives in today’s Ukraine, which is fighting,” he said.

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