Ukraine’s chief Catholic leader said Russia’s new strategy in its war against its neighbor is “the destruction of our civilian population.”

The Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk was speaking in his address marking the 112th week of the full-scale Russian invasion.

He said Russia uses “diabolical tactics — to destroy not only human life, but also those who serve it.”

“Our girls and boys at the front are heroically defending their land and managed not only to stabilize the front, but also to stop the advance of the Russian army,” he said.

“That’s why today we want to especially thank our rescuers, doctors, paramedics – everyone who his own life continues to fulfill his professional duty,” Shevchuk said.

“We also thank our energy workers, who are tirelessly eliminating the consequences of Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure. Thanks to the heroism of our military personnel, professionalism and heroic service to our people, doctors and all other representatives of the services of our cities and villages, today we can say: Ukraine stands, Ukraine fights, Ukraine prays,” the major archbishop continued.

On April 6, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine at the United Nations, Denise Brown, condemned attacks by the Russians in Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia.

Russian forces using drones and missiles killed at least six people and wounding 11 more in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, local officials reported.

On Sunday, three people were killed when their house was hit by a Russian projectile in the front-line town of Huliaipole in Ukraine’s partly occupied southeastern Zaporizhzhia region.

“Not a day passes by without strikes by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, crushing the lives of people across Ukraine,” she said.

“It is unacceptable that places which are designated to help people in need – centers where those who have fled their homes live and receive support, or offices of aid organizations – are hit, hampering access to humanitarian assistance for those who depend on it,” Brown continued.

“I condemn this apparent pattern of continued attacks impacting civilians and civilian infrastructure. Civilians, aid workers and first responders helping war-affected civilians must be protected. International humanitarian law must be respected,” she added.

In his statement, Shevchuk noted Sunday marked the heart of Great Lent and is called the Adoration of the Cross.

“Kissing the wounds of our crucified Savior, we seem to gain life-giving strength from Him. Blood and water continue to flow from His pierced rib – the Sacraments of Christ’s Church, which revive all those who are wounded today and face death every day,” the major archbishop said.

“Therefore, for the crucified Ukraine, the honest and life-giving Cross of the Lord is a source of stability, the ability to follow Christ and to win together with Him, to win over sin and death and to carry life and resurrection in oneself,” he continued.

“We know that our heroes will be resurrected, that everyone who believes in the Risen One will take part in His resurrection and in their own resurrection. Therefore, it is important that our statesmen and leaders take care that the Lord’s Cross stands on the graves of our heroes,” Shevchuk said.

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