The Archbishop of Canterbury called on people to “stand with those suffering because of war and to seek to make peace” in his New Year message delivered at RAF Brize Norton.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said “wars seem everywhere at the moment” in his annual start-of-the-year address.

He said: “Wars seem everywhere at the moment.

“Wars we know about, wars forgotten.

“I’ve seen for myself the ongoing human cost of war.

“In Ukraine I went to Bucha where evidence of atrocities was found.

“I’ve met Ukrainian refugees, most recently in Georgia and Romania: families having to start again in a new country.

Oxford Mail: Archbishop of Canterbury at Brize Norton

“I’ve met refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh (a territory disputed between Azerbaijan and Armenia) after they left their homes because of conflict.

“And in Jerusalem last October I sat and listened to some of those traumatised by war, Palestinian and Israeli.

“Jesus Christ tells us to stand with those suffering because of war, and to seek to make peace.”

It came after Russia launched a fresh drone assault on Ukraine on Saturday night, hitting the capital, Kyiv, and border city Kharkiv after promising that strikes on the Russian border city of Belgorod hours earlier, which killed 24 people, would “not go unpunished”.

The health ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that another 165 people were killed in the previous 24 hours.

In his address, the archbishop also praised the armed forces as he said they embody the theme of the King’s coronation last year.

He said soldiers were at the centre of the celebrations not “just because the world marvelled at their displays of pageantry” but because they, “like many, many others in the country”, embodied service.

He added: “Here at RAF Brize Norton, almost 6,000 service personnel are living out that oath every day, working to keep us safe and the country secure, delivering humanitarian aid following natural disasters, like the earthquake in Turkey last year, or supporting civilians in the midst of conflict in places like the Middle East.

“We’re learning more and more how the horrors and traumas of war impact service personnel, sometimes long after.

“But there are also traumas for their loved ones.

“Families across the country feel the absence of relatives and those they love who are serving their country abroad.

“We fear for those of our fellow citizens who risk their lives defending and protecting the vulnerable and ensuring security.”