NICOSIA – Tearing into a fellow Orthodox country, Cyprus’ Archbishop Chrysostomos II blistered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with the besieged city of Mariupol there home to some 150,000 ethnic Greeks.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a staunch supporter of Putin, has blessed the conflict, essentially backing the murderous invasion that has seen thousands of civilians killed, including children.
Chrysostomos though told state broadcaster CyBC that, “There is no excuse to go and destroy another country,” and that the invasion is not Christian-like and is an unsensical war.
“To go and flatten another country for no reason makes no sense,” Chrysostomos added. “I am saddened because people are being killed,” he said, adding there was “no logic” to Putin’s actions, which show “he is not behaving like a Christian”.
The Archbishop also raised doubts about Putin’s mental state, saying: “I don’t know if this person is well, the way he is behaving,” joining other critics in wondering if the Russian President is all there.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Cypriot Parliament as part of a series of video speeches he has made to foreign legislatures and said Cyprus should stop giving dual citizenship and passports to Russians.
Cyprus, a second home for many Russians and for Russian tourists, reluctantly has gone along with European Union sanctions over the war but said it could break with the bloc and allow Russian airlines if too many tourists go to Turkey instead.