On the 18th December 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, responded to a Government Statement on the recent European Council Meeting: He asked about the UK approach to Russian foreign policy and the progress made with the Brexit negotiations:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, the Leader seems disappointed that the Statement has not been welcomed as it might have been. I do welcome it but I do not think it is as it has been portrayed; that is, the progress that has been made thus far is simply the opening gambit and the real hard work is going to come in the next phase. It seems to me that so far not a great deal has been achieved, except that we can go on to talk about the next phase. I will make a quick observation and then put a question. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds says conduct of Brexit is aiding Russian policy of destabilising the West.”
“We need a more adequate humanitarian response to the human suffering resulting from the conflict, and to support and strengthen the efforts of the churches and faith communities of Ukraine for justice and peace.” – Bishop of St Albans, 24/3/15
On 24th March 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, took part in a debate tabled by Lord Tugendhat “that this House takes note of the Report of the European Union Committee on The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine (6th Report, HL Paper 115)”.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my congratulations on the maiden speech of the noble Earl, Lord Oxford and Asquith, and I thank the noble Lord, Lord Tugendhat, for securing this debate, which provides a valuable space in which to explore the multifaceted and fast-changing situation in the region. The EU Committee’s report has opened a welcome opportunity to reassess the UK’s relationship with both Russia and Ukraine on a bilateral level and as part of the EU. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans highlights role of churches in building peace and stability in Ukraine”
On 8th January 2015 Lord Spicer asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what is their most recent assessment of the position in Ukraine’. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans:
My Lords, we must not forget those Ukrainians living in Crimea who now find themselves under the Russian state. Could the Minister update us on what representations have been made on their behalf and, in particular, whether the OSCE monitors have made any progress in gaining access and finding out what is going on?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about plight of Ukrainians living in Crimea”
On 13th October 2014, Lord Spicer asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they took to encourage negotiations between the two sides at the start of the conflict in Ukraine. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, as well as seeking a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk, it is vital that we do not forget those Ukrainians who remained in Crimea and now find themselves under the Russian state. Can the Minister tell us what representations have been made on their behalf, and what progress, if any, has been made by the OSCE monitors in gaining access to Crimea? Continue reading “Ukrainians in Russia: Bishop of St Albans raises concern”
On 21st July 2014, a Government statement on the Ukraine (Shooting Down of MH17) and Gaza was repeated in the House of Lords by the Leader of the House, Baroness Stowell of Beeston. The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, perhaps I may return us to the tragic event of the downing of flight MH17 to join others in expressing deep and profound condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who died. In particular, I express the deep sympathies of those of us who spend quite a lot of our time caring for those who are bereaved and, in so doing, I pay tribute to the Protestant, Anglican, Old Catholic and Roman Catholic ministers who have been trying to care for the stricken families at Schiphol Airport. They have a very demanding task. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry responds to statement on MH17 and Gaza”
On 2nd April 2014 the Bishop of Wakefield, Rt Revd Stephen Platten, received answers to written questions on EU and UK relationships with the Republic of Moldova, which borders Ukraine. The questions focused on:
- the EU’s Association Agreement
- election monitoring
- political and military assurances about territorial independence and sovereignty
- Ministerial contact
- EU visa waiver programme
- Tensions between Moldova and the autonomous regions of Transnistria and Gagauzia.
Continue reading “Moldova: EU and UK Relations”
On 25th March 2014 Lord Trimble asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what steps they are taking to support the Government of Ukraine’. The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, can the Minister tell us what representations are being made on behalf of Ukrainians who are still living in Crimea and find themselves living there now under the Russian state? How are their interests going to be protected?
Baroness Warsi: My Lords, that is the most difficult community for us to access. The right reverend Prelate asks an important question about a community which is probably most at risk. Unfortunately, we understand that OSCE monitors will not be allowed into Crimea at this stage, but I will write to the right reverend Prelate if I have any further details.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, perhaps I may focus my question on Ukraine. It seems to me that there are some senses—not exactly repetitions—in which we are seeing replayed some of the things that were not resolved in the early 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union. I remember that at that time I was working at Lambeth as the archbishop’s foreign secretary, as it were, and on one occasion the telephone was brought to me in the bath. There was a call from the gatekeeper telling me that Mr Gorbachev was in captivity in the Crimea and he thought that I ought to know so that I could do something about it. Some very good and quite low-key, and low-cost, initiatives were taken by Her Majesty’s Government at that time to support the development of democracy in the various republics that resulted from the collapse of the Soviet Union, including Ukraine. Can we be reassured that, once things become a little more stable, those sorts of initiatives might be looked at again? I am suggesting not carbon copies but that sort of thing.
My other point is that only the churches never recognised the division of Europe. The Conference of European Churches always worked across Europe. There are very serious divisions in the churches in the Ukraine, often reflecting some of the fragmentations that exist in the country as a whole. Again, that is another area where Her Majesty’s Government might work with others to see how one moves towards a more democratic situation.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, I continue to learn how close church links can be across national boundaries. I was in Armenia some months ago and was met by a very chatty archbishop, who seemed to know almost every bishop I had ever met in this country. However, we all know that the Orthodox Church in and across the former Soviet Union is a very complex and divided entity, and not all its branches are committed to anything that we would recognise as a liberal approach to organised religion. Sadly, the different branches of the church in Ukraine represent that rather well.