Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned “the massacre of Bucha” and kissed a Ukrainian flag despatched from the city wherever tied bodies shot at shut variety littered the streets following Russian troops withdrew and bodies poked out of a mass grave at a church.
The fatalities in Bucha, outdoors Kyiv, have brought on a worldwide outcry and pledges of even more sanctions versus Moscow from the West.
“Modern news from the war in Ukraine, alternatively of bringing reduction and hope, introduced new atrocities, these kinds of as the massacre of Bucha,” Francis explained at the finish of his weekly viewers in the Vatican’s auditorium.
“Cease this war! Enable the weapons drop silent! Cease sowing loss of life and destruction,” he explained, decrying cruelty versus civilians, defenceless girls and young children.
The Kremlin states allegations Russian forces fully commited war crimes by executing civilians which include in Bucha had been a “monstrous forgery” aimed at denigrating the Russian military.
Francis explained the darkened and stained flag, which experienced creating and symbols on it was introduced to him from Bucha on Tuesday.
“It will come from the war, exactly from that martyred metropolis, Bucha,” he explained, kissing it and keeping it up for the viewers of many thousand, which broke into applause.
He then requested a team of young children war refugees who arrived on Tuesday from Ukraine to appear up to him.
“These young children experienced to flee in get to get there in a protected land. This is the fruit of war. Let us not forget about them and let us not forget about the Ukrainian men and women,” he explained, prior to offering each and every little one a reward of a chocolate Easter egg.
Talking in the before component of his viewers about the submit-World War Two interval, Francis explained: “In the war in Ukraine, we are witnessing the impotency of the United Nations”.
In the course of a vacation to Malta at the weekend, Francis explained he was thinking of a vacation to Kyiv and implicitly criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin in excess of the invasion of Ukraine, stating a “potentate” was fomenting conflict for nationalist passions.
Francis has only pointed out Russia particularly in prayers, these kinds of as throughout a specific worldwide party for peace on March twenty five, but he has referred to Russia by employing phrases these kinds of as invasion and aggression.