PATRIARCH: RUSSIAN MILITARY ACTIONS IN SYRIA BEAR DEFENSIVE CHARACTER
RIA Novosti, 7 January 2016
Russia's armed actions in Syria bear a defensive character and they are intended, among other things, to defend the fatherland and are completely consistent with the idea of a just war, Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill declared on Thursday in a Christmas interview on television channel "Rossia 1."
Speaking about how a believing person can, in principle, treat armed actions, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church noted that "participation in some actions which may lead to death may be justified."
"The Gospel clearly describes in which cases it is possible: when you are giving your life for friends. Properly speaking, the idea of the just war is based on this. Way back in the fifth century, the Blessed Augustine tried to describe the parameters of such a war. Now, perhaps, there are somewhat different representations, but the essence remains as before: military actions are justified when they protect the individual, society, and state," the patriarch said.
He said the actions of Russia in Syria bear a defensive character, since they do not permit the spread of terrorist groupings operating on the territory of that country and beyond its borders. "Therefore this war is defensive. It is not even so much a war as targeted actions. But nevertheless participation by our people in armed actions is justified to the extent that this war bears a defensive character," the head of the RPTs said.
The patriarch recalled that Russians know well what kind of terrible troubles terrorism brings. "Our people have gone through horrible experiences: Beslan, Volgograd, it is impossible to enumerate them all. We have been burnt by this pain; we know what it is. And our airplane that was downed over Sinai? Therefore everything that has happened are retaliatory defensive actions. In this sense we boldly speak of a just struggle," he declared.
In addition, the primate of the RPTs added, by its actions Russia is participating in saving many people in Syria and in the Near East who "have been unjustly destroyed as the result of terrorist actions, including, of course, the Christian community." "We know of cases of return from captivity; we know of cases of the liberation of Christians and whole Christian settlements, places of their compact residence. According to responses which we have received from our brethren it is quite clear that they view Russia's participation in this war of liberation, these actions aimed at overcoming terrorism, with hope," the prelate concluded.
On 30 September, Russia began, at the request of President Bashar Assad, delivering targeted air strikes in Syria against objects of the "Islamic State" and "Al-Nusra Dzhebhat" (both groupings are prohibited in the RF). In this time, the Aerospace forces, with the participation of ships in the Caspian flotilla and the submarine Rostov-on-Don of the Black Sea fleet, have destroyed several hundreds of fighters and thousands of objects of the terrorists. (tr. by PDS, posted 7 January 2016)
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