Pope Francis pushes Ukrainian ceasefire before invasion anniversary
On Wednesday, February 22, two days prior to the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Pope Francis urged for a ceasefire and peace discussions, stating that no victory could be “built on rubble.”
Francis, who has called for a halt to violence in Ukraine in practically every public appearance since Russia’s invasion of the nation on February 24, 2022, addressed the Vatican’s weekly general audience.
A year has passed since the beginning of this senseless and brutal conflict, a sad anniversary, he remarked.
Francis stated that the number of deaths, injuries, refugees, and displaced persons, as well as the destruction and economic and social suffering, speak for themselves.
Together with a team of Ukrainian authorities, the Ukrainian ambassador to the Vatican, Andrii Yurash, attended the event.
“May God pardon so many atrocities and acts of violence. The God of peace is he.” Francis added, “Let us remain close to the Ukrainian people who continue to suffer as martyrs.”
Francis has disputed Russia’s claim that its military presence in Ukraine was part of a “special mission” and condemned what he has termed as atrocities and innocent deaths.
A day after important statements on Ukraine by U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Pope asked, “Have we done everything possible to end the war?” I urge all those with control over nations to take meaningful steps to end the conflict, reach a cease-fire, and launch peace discussions.”
He continued, “A victory built upon ruins can never be genuine.”
Last year, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy submitted a peace proposal that called for a restoration of territorial integrity and for Russia to reaffirm it in accordance with the United Nations Charter, which Zelenskiy stated was “not up for negotiation.”
In addition, it urged the removal of Russian forces and an end to hostilities.
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