Pope blasts Russian 'cruelty,' lauds Ukrainian 'heroism'

Pope Francis has blasted the “ferocity and cruelty” of Russian troops in Ukraine while praising the “heroism” and “courage” of Ukrainians to defend their land

Vatican Pope
Vatican Pope

Pope Francis has blasted the “ferocity and cruelty” of Russian troops in Ukraine while praising the “heroism” and “courage” of Ukrainians to defend their land.

Francis made some of his most pointed comments about the war in a meeting with European editors of Jesuit journals last month, excerpts of which were published Tuesday in Italian dailies La Stampa and Avvenire.

While sharply criticizing Russia’s invasion, Francis also insisted there weren’t “good guys and bad guys” and that Russia was in some ways provoked by NATO’s expansion east.

“Someone might say at this point: ‘But you are in favor of Putin!’ No, I’m not,” Francis said. “It would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing. I am simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good and bad, without thinking about roots and interests, which are very complex. While we see the ferocity, the cruelty of the Russian troops, we must not forget the problems to try to solve them.”

In the interview, Francis confirmed he hopes to meet with Russian Patriarch Kirill, who has justified the war, when the two are due to attend an interfaith meeting in Kazakhstan in mid-September.

A planned meeting in June was called off by both sides, Francis said, “so that our dialogue isn’t misunderstood.”

In Kazakhstan, he said, “I hope to be able to greet him and speak with him a bit as a pastor.”

At the same time, Francis went on at length to praise the courage of Ukrainians and reasserted their right to defend themselves while blasting what he said was the financial interests in the war by weapons manufacturers to “test and sell weapons.”

“It’s true the Russians thought it’d be over in a week. But they miscalculated,” Francis said. “They found a courageous people, a people who are fighting to survive and have a history of fighting.”

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in