The Pope begs Putin to stop the war in Ukraine | International

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The Pope has recognized for the first time in public since the invasion of Ukraine began the role of Vladimir Putin in the conflict and has addressed him directly, as "president of the Russian Federation", to demand a ceasefire, while the tensions are heightened by war. Francis has "beseeched" the Russian president, "also out of love for his people," to stop "this spiral of violence and death." And he has denounced the risk of a nuclear escalation with possible "uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences worldwide." This is his most forceful request so far on the conflict, which has lasted seven months and which the Pontiff has defined as "an error and a horror".

Francis also called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to "be open" to serious peace proposals. And he called on world leaders to do everything in their power to end the ongoing war and to use "diplomatic instruments" to stop this "serious, devastating and threatening" conflict. "Please, let us make it possible for the young generations to breathe the healthy air of peace, not the polluted air of war, which is crazy!" the Pope said.

Francis has always been concerned about the war in Ukraine, has sent papal envoys to the hardest-hit areas to bring aid and has even considered a trip to that country. At the start of the war he was criticized for being lukewarm and for not explicitly mentioning Russia or Putin as responsible for the attack. Later, he hardened his tone in official messages and appearances and began to speak clearly of invasion or the intervention of a “superpower”.

A few months ago, in a conversation with the directors of the European cultural magazines of the Society of Jesus, published by various Italian media, the Pope stressed that he is not "pro-Putin", in response to those who think that with some opinions he had shown himself to favor of the Russian president, and that it would be “simplistic and wrong to say such a thing”.

On this occasion, he has decided to publicly acknowledge the role of the Kremlin leader in the war and has dedicated the entire Angelus, one of his most important scheduled appointments of the week, to reflecting on the problem, something that rarely happens. The last time was in 2013, to ask for peace in Syria.

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As he himself explained, Francis abandoned his usual religious content catechesis this Sunday before the Angelus to focus his reflection on the situation in Ukraine, a sign of the seriousness of the moment. "The course of the war in Ukraine has become so serious, devastating and threatening that it is a matter of great concern," he said. And he added: "In fact, this terrible and inconceivable wound of humanity, instead of healing, continues to bleed more and more, with the risk of enlarging."

Francis explained that he "strongly deplores the serious situation that has been created in recent days, with new actions contrary to the principles of international law," in a clear reference to Putin's illegal annexation of four regions in the east and south of Ukraine. , although he did not make any specific mention. This is a movement that has brought the war to its most dangerous phase and has pushed the Kremlin to raise its nuclear threats. "In fact, it increases the risk of a nuclear escalation, to the point that uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences are feared at the global level," the Pope added.

Bergoglio, before praying the Angelus in Saint Peter's Square this Sunday, reviewed some of the massacres perpetrated by Russia on Ukrainian soil and the attacks recorded against civilian targets. “It is distressing that the world is learning the geography of Ukraine through names like Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Izium, Zaporizhia and other cities, which have become places of unspeakable suffering and fear. And what about the fact that humanity is once again facing the atomic threat? It's absurd, ”he launched.

“I am grieved by the rivers of blood and tears shed in recent months. The thousands of victims, especially children, and the numerous destructions that have left many people and families homeless and threaten vast territories with cold and hunger hurt me,” Francis revealed. And he pointed out: "Certain actions can never be justified, never!", without making any further allusions in this regard.

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