VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis instructed an Italian newspaper he had supplied to journey to Moscow to fulfill with President Vladimir Putin to attempt to finish Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and urged the invasion may need been provoked by NATO’s eastward growth.
Francis stated he made the provide about three weeks into Russia’s invasion, by way of the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, however has but to listen to again.
Popes for many years have sought to go to Moscow as a part of the longstanding effort to heal relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, which cut up with Rome greater than 1,000 years in the past. But an invite has by no means been forthcoming.
“Of course, it would be necessary for the leader of the Kremlin to make available some window of opportunity. But we still have not had a response and we are still pushing, even if I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting at this moment,” Francis was quoted as saying by the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Francis recalled that he spoke in March with the pinnacle of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, for 40 minutes by videoconference and for the primary half “with paper in hand, he learn all the justifications for the conflict.”
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“I listened and told him: ‘I don’t understand any of this. Brother, we are not clerics of the state, we cannot use language of politics, but that of Jesus. … For this we need to find the paths of peace, to stop the firing of arms.’”
Francis has frequently denounced the weapons industry and the announced increases in defense spending by the West in recent weeks. But he has also defended the right of Ukrainians to protect their territory from the Russian invasion, in line with Catholic social doctrine. He told Corriere he felt he was too removed to judge the morality of resupplying the Ukrainian armed forces from the West.
But he also said he was trying to understand why Russia had reacted as it had. Maybe “this barking of NATO at Russia’s door” had prompted it, he was quoted as saying, “An anger that I don’t know if you can say was provoked, but maybe facilitated.”
Francis has given a handful of interviews of late to friendly media emphasizing his call for an end to the war and initiatives to provide humanitarian relief to Ukrainians. He has defended his decision to not call out Putin or Russia publicly, saying popes don’t do so. But he freely named Putin in his remarks to Corriere, and seemed to equate the carnage in Ukraine with the genocide in Rwanda a quarter-century ago.
“Such brutality, how can you not try to to stop it? Twenty-five years ago in Rwanda we saw the same thing,” he was quoted as saying.
Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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