MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/. The residents of Donbass have been suffering for eight years, they are being exterminated while the entire world is silent, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said on Sunday.
"For eight years, the suppression, extermination of people has been underway in Donbass. Eight years of suffering and the entire world is silent. <...> We know that our brothers and sisters are really suffering, moreover, they may suffer for their fidelity to the church," he said during a sermon following the Divine Liturgy at the Christ the Savior Cathedral.
The 16th Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church reiterated that today is the Shrove Sunday, the day of forgiveness, and urged worshippers to forgive all sins and offences, stressing that "forgiveness without justice is capitulation and weakness" and calling on the congregation "to stand on the side of light, of God’s truth, of divine commandments."
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
Russia's Defense Ministry reported later that Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons.