Egypt’s Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, the highest seat of learning in the Sunni Muslim world, has appealed to Russia and Ukraine to solve their conflict through dialogue.
"I urge Russia and Ukraine to refer to the voice of reason," Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb, said in a statement.
"Wars will only bring destruction and hatred to our world and that conflicts can only be settled by dialogue," he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Thursday, days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine.
He claimed that Moscow had no plan to occupy its neighbor, but wanted to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenkskyy pledged to defend the country, the West announced sanctions against Moscow, including measures targeting Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, more than 150,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into neighboring countries, including Poland, Hungary, Moldova and Romania.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is exerting efforts to reach a truce to stop the fighting.
* Writing by Ahmed AsmarAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.