Pope urges Putin to end spiral of violence in Ukraine

Pope urges Putin to end spiral of violence in Ukraine

Pope Francis on Sunday appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the “spiral of violence and death” in the war in Ukraine and warned of the risk of a nuclear “escalation” with global consequences.

“My appeal is primarily addressed to the President of the Russian Federation [Vladimir Putin]and asked him, also out of love for his people, to stop this spiral of violence and death”, the Pope asked during the Angelus prayer from the window of the papal apartment.

Before thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the head of the Catholic Church made an unprecedented statement, dedicating his message directly to Kyiv and Moscow. Usually he reflects on the war in the liturgy.

“The course of the war in Ukraine has become so serious, devastating and threatening that it is a matter of great concern,” he said.

For Francis it is “absurd” that mankind should once again be confronted with the “nuclear threat”. “What else has to happen, how much blood has to spill before we realize that war is never a solution, only destruction?” he asked.

“In the name of God, in the name of the humanity that resides in every heart, I renew my appeal for an immediate ceasefire, for the silencing of guns and for the establishment of negotiation conditions that can lead to solutions, not imposed by force but agreed, fair, stable,” he added.

According to the Argentine, measures are needed that respect the “value of life and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country, as well as the rights of minorities and legitimate concerns”.

Francis also urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be “open” to serious peace proposals.

“On the other hand, saddened by the tremendous suffering of the Ukrainian people after the aggression endured, I make an equally hopeful appeal to the President of Ukraine to be open to serious peace proposals,” he added.

Jorge Bergoglio addressed representatives of the international community and political leaders, urging them to use “all diplomatic tools”, including those not yet used, to end this “enormous tragedy”.

“Do everything in your power to end the ongoing war without engaging in dangerous escalations and encourage and support dialogue initiatives,” he said.

“Please let the new generations breathe the holy air of peace, not the polluted air of war, which is madness,” he said, calling the war “a mistake and a horror.”

Finally, the Holy Father “deeply regrets the serious situation that has arisen in recent days, with new measures contrary to the principles of international law”. “Indeed, it increases the risk of nuclear escalation to the point of creating fear of uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences at the world level,” he concluded, indirectly referring to the recent referendums in the Russianannexed Ukrainian regions.