Archbishop calls for Ukraine ceasefire, criticises Rwanda asylum seeker plan in Easter sermon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has used his Easter sermon to repeat calls for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, and criticise the UK government's plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Archbishop Justin Welby said the asylum proposals raised "serious ethical questions" as he spoke of his hope for "an ending of a world where we turn away from the refugee". 

"The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgement of God and it cannot," he said.

"It cannot carry the weight of resurrection justice, of life conquering death. It cannot carry the weight of the resurrection that was first to the least valued, for it privileges the rich and strong.

"And it cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures." 

The Archbishop also called for peace in Ukraine. 

"Let this be a time for Russian ceasefire, withdrawal and a commitment to talks," he continued.

"This is a time for resetting the ways of peace, not for what Bismarck called blood and iron. Let Christ prevail! Let the darkness of war be banished."

He concluded his sermon by speaking of the hope and renewal that comes with Easter.  

"Dictators who rule by fear, violence and cruelty – you will lose. Despite nuclear weapons, armies which number in the tens of thousands, superior fire power or the ability and will to raze cities to the ground," he said.

"Christ Jesus who was crucified has been raised to life by God the Father in the power of the Spirit. The victory of goodness and love has been guaranteed. The defeat of evil is assured. Injustice is defeated. The end of the old world has arrived."