Two former U.S. presidents from different political parties visited a Ukrainian church Friday to show "solidarity" with the Ukrainian people.
Former Presidents George W. Bush, a Republican, and Bill Clinton, a Democrat, visited Saints Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chicago together, according to posts on their social media accounts. They laid flowers outside the congregation.
"America stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their freedom and their future," an Instagram post from Bush said.
"America stands united with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom and against oppression," a tweet from Clinton said.
America stands united with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom and against oppression. pic.twitter.com/O7INc9S1tq— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) March 18, 2022
Each social media post included a video showing the two men standing side by side, bowing in prayer outside the church. The video notes that the United States has had diplomatic relations with Ukraine since 1991 when it became independent of the Soviet Union.
The flowers, a speaker in the video says, "represent the struggle for freedom, which today are the colors of blue and yellow – blue for sky, yellow for wheat – as Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe. And now Ukraine is the citadel of fighting for freedom."
Both presidents "worked to support Ukraine's democratic institutions," the video says.
Bush said in a February statement that Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine "constitutes the gravest security crisis on the European continent since World War II."
"The American government and people must stand in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they seek freedom and the right to choose their own future," Bush said in February.
"We cannot tolerate the authoritarian bullying and danger that Putin poses. Ukraine is our friend and democratic ally and deserves our full support during this most difficult time."
Clinton, in February, also released a statement supporting Ukraine.
"I stand with President Biden, our allies, and freedom-loving people around the world in condemning Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine," Clinton said in February. "Putin's war of choice has unraveled 30 years of diplomacy and put millions of innocent lives in grave danger, with the potential for mass civilian casualties in and huge displacements both within Ukraine's borders and beyond. The world will hold Russia and Russia alone accountable, both economically and politically, for its brazen violation of international law. I stand with the people of Ukraine and am praying for their safety."
Clinton served as president from January 1993 to January 2001, with Bush following him from January 2001 to January 2009.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Cliff Hawkins/Staff, ©Getty Images/Brian Ach/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.