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‘Rivers of blood and tears…’: Pope Francis calls on Russia to end Ukraine war

In the wake of Russia’s recent claims suggesting that it has conducted a special military operation in Ukraine by targeting the latter’s military infrastructure, Pope Francis on Sunday condemned Moscow’s claims, stating that the ongoing aggression is taking away several lives.

“In Ukraine rivers of blood and tears are flowing. This is not only a military operation but a war which is leading to death, destruction and misery,” the pope said in his weekly address to crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square.

Pope’s statement comes as the Russian Defence Ministry earlier announced that its military has destroyed 2,203 targets of Ukrainian military infrastructure during the special military operation.

There are at least a few million Catholics in Ukraine.

“The time will come to settle these crimes, including before international courts,” Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poland wrote to Patriach Kirill, the Russian Orthodox Church head last week, “… even if someone manages to avoid human justice, there is a tribunal (a divine reckoning) that cannot be avoided.”

The archbishop’s tone was significant because it contrasted sharply with the Catholic Church’s position at the time.

The Holy See has called for a ceasefire and corridors to evacuate non-combatants, but the Pope had yet to publicly call out Moscow for initiating a military conflict that is leaving it increasingly isolated on the global stage.

(With inputs from agencies)

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