ROME – On Wednesday, Pope Francis again expressed his dismay at the situation in the “suffering” Ukraine, just as Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the specter of nuclear war.
“I would like to mention the terrible situation in the suffering Ukraine,” the pontiff told those gathered at the Vatican for his weekly general audience.
The pope noted that Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, is currently in Odessa as Francis’s envoy to the country, the cardinal’s fourth such visit since the Russian invasion. It was reported this week that Krajewski came under fire while bringing food and other humanitarian aid to Ukrainians on the front lines.
“He called me yesterday,” Francis said. “He told me about the pain of this people, the savagery, the monstrosities, the tortured corpses they find.”
On Thursday, Pope Francis met with a delegation of Orthodox Christians from the Patriarchate of Constantinople in which he condemned Russia’s “war of aggression” against Ukraine. https://t.co/lMNYnB6wwN
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“Let’s unite with this nation that is so noble and martyred,” he concluded.
On Tuesday evening, President Putin warned in a national address that “Russia will use all the instruments at its disposal to counter the threat to its territorial integrity – this is not a bluff.”
Russia “has many types of weapons of destruction, the components of which are in some cases more modern than those of NATO countries,” Putin said.
Putin’s thinly veiled threat of a nuclear response in Ukraine, as well as the call-up of reservists, follow a series of humiliating military losses in which Ukraine has reclaimed large swaths of previously occupied territory.