Pope Francis Condemns ‘Insane War,’ ‘Barbaric Attacks’ in Ukraine

Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on the occasion of the solemnity
Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty

ROME — Pope Francis has once again condemned the Russian war on “dear and tormented” Ukraine, calling for prayers and aid for the besieged nation.

“Every day I carry in my heart the dear and tormented Ukraine, which continues to be scourged by barbaric attacks, like the one that struck the Kremenchuk shopping centre,” the pontiff said after his Angelus prayer in the Vatican Wednesday.

“I pray that this insane war may soon see an end, and I renew the invitation to persevere, without tiring, in prayer for peace: may the Lord open those paths of dialogue that men are unwilling or unable to find!” he said.

“And let us not neglect to come to the aid of the Ukrainian people, who are suffering so much,” Francis concluded.

The pope was referring to Tuesday’s Russian missile strike on a crowded mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, which claimed the lives of at least 16 civilians.

“The Russian strike today on the shopping centre in Kremenchuk is one of the most brazen terrorist acts in European history,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said following the attack.

Pope Francis has been criticized for his unwillingness to call out Russian aggression by name, and for his refusal to acknowledge guilty and innocent parties in the conflict.

In an interview with the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica published earlier this month, the pope said there were no “good guys” and “bad guys” in the war and suggested that a number of factors, including “barking” by NATO and the international arms trade, had provoked Russia’s aggression.

The pope said he is “against reducing complexity to the distinction between good guys and bad guys without reasoning about roots and interests, which are very complex.”

“What is before our eyes is a situation of world war, global interests, arms sales and geopolitical appropriation, which is martyring a heroic people,” he asserted.

In a pointed response, Ukrainian Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk asserted that Russia had not been “provoked” into invading Ukraine and that the causes of the war “lie within Russia itself.”

“We see and know, experiencing here in Ukraine, that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is completely unprovoked,” the archbishop said. “Anyone who thinks that some external cause has provoked Russia into military aggression is either themselves in the grip of Russian propaganda or is simply and deliberately deceiving the world.”


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