As the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its fifth day, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, on Monday published a brief statement in which he expressed feelings of sorrow over the suffering brought about by the war in Ukraine. His Holiness appealed to all parties to seek a rapid restoration of peace by engaging in dialogue.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a long-time advocate of global disarmament, called for hope, emphasizing that the path away from violence and conflict toward a peaceful global community lay in understanding the interconnection of all people and of all nations:
I have been deeply saddened by the conflict in Ukraine.
Our world has become so interdependent that violent conflict between two countries inevitably impacts the rest of the world. War is out-dated – non-violence is the only way. We need to develop a sense of the oneness of humanity by considering other human beings as brothers and sisters. This is how we will build a more peaceful world.
Problems and disagreements are best resolved through dialogue. Genuine peace comes about through mutual understanding and respect for each other’s wellbeing.
We must not lose hope. The 20th century was a century of war and bloodshed. The 21st century must be a century of dialogue.
I pray that peace is swiftly restored in Ukraine.(His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
The Dalai Lama’s statement comes as UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Monday that at least 102 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on 24 February. Bachelet said a further 304 civilians had been injured, but noted that the true number of civilian casualties was likely to be “considerably higher” than the confirmed count.
On Sunday, Ukraine’s health ministry had reported that at least 352 civilians, including 14 children, had been killed since the invasion began. The ministry added that a further 1,684 people had been wounded.
A UNHCR spokesperson shared on Monday that some 422,000 people had fled Ukraine to neighboring countries.
Meanwhile, media reports on Monday shared a statement from the Ukrainian presidency which indicated that a delegation of Ukrainian officials had reached the border with Belarus to hold talks with Russian representatives that would focus on an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces.
Hope for Dialogue to Restore Peace in Ukraine (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
Ukraine death toll: What we know so far (Al Jazeera)
Civilian death toll in Ukraine at least 102 but feared higher – U.N. (Reuters)
Ukraine’s delegation has arrived at border for talks with Russia, says presidency (Reuters)
Civilians are dying in Ukraine. But exactly how many remains a mystery. (The Washington Post)