Bishop of Leeds asks about the role of religion in addressing the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The Bishop of Leeds asked a question regarding the government’s assessment of the role of religion in the conflict in Ukraine, following a statement giving an update on the conflict on 2nd March 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I very much appreciate what the Government are doing and the Statement that was given. One of the elements that is lacking from it, however, is any reference to religion. One cannot understand the politics of Russia or Ukraine without understanding the history of the past 1,200 years, what is intended to be part of the reunification of the original Rus—I speak as a Russian linguist and former Soviet specialist at GCHQ. If we do not understand the role of religion, we are in danger of short-term, reactive, tactical activities in relation to the current conflict, whereas the Russians, certainly, have been running a long-term strategy under Putin, in which he has been extremely successful thus far. What role is religion playing in the Government’s assessment of how to care for refugees, which we have talked about, and in establishing back channels with the Moscow patriarchate and the Ukrainian patriarchate?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con): I thank the right reverend Prelate for that. He will not be particularly surprised to learn that I do not know the details on that subject. I will facilitate contact with the Foreign Office so that he can explain, using the depth of his expertise. I also point out that the setting up of the humanitarian visa scheme is being done by DLUHC, in consultation with a number of NGOs and other bodies. I strongly recommend that the right reverend Prelate gets in touch with DLUHC to pass on some of those suggestions, which strike me as incredibly sensible.


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