The Archbishop of Canterbury has defended the Ukraine fighting back in the Russian invasion of its country.
Most Rev Justin Welby, who was on a three-day trip to the now war-torn country told BBC Radio 4 that although peace is ideal, evil should not be allowed to win.
“Peace is always better than war. But there are times when justice demands that there is the defeat of what the Archbishop of York and I called when it started, an evil invasion and I don't regret saying that.
“Ukraine is the victim here, we can't slip back to a 1938 Czechoslovakia sort of people far away of whom we know little situation, there has to be real resilience to say that you can't invade another country, except in conditions of absolute self-defence.”
Archbishop Justin’s comments come as an advisor to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 13,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed so far in the war with Russia. It's the first official estimate since the summer of how many soldiers may have died.
US officials recently calculated that Russia's military has seen more than 100,000 personnel killed and wounded and that Kyiv's probably suffered similar losses.
When the archbishop was asked if it was morally right that bad Russian soldiers in Ukraine should have been killed, he replied: “It's not a good thing to kill anyone under any circumstances, but self-defence has been, since the time of St. Augustine, a recognised right of states, and since the sixth century it is recognised in all the world's major faiths as morally justified.
“The cost of self-defence is this dreadful, awful tragedy of young life being lost. But the judgment for that must fall on those who started the war, not on Ukraine.
Archbishop Justin, who reportedly had to take cover in a bomb shelter on Friday morning after air raid warnings sounded off, met with Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders in Kyiv on Thursday.
He said it was clear in their conversations that there’s determination for Ukraine to come out on top of the war. However, he warned that the West doesn’t seem to realise how long the violent conflict could last.
“The people of the West need to realise that the costs of this war… are not short term. We need to be really tough about this.”
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "open to negotiations" on Ukraine but the West must accept Moscow's demands. It comes a day after US President Joe Biden said he was willing to talk if Putin were looking for a way to end the war.