Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church has for the first time directly appealed to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to stop the “spiral of violence and death” in Ukraine, Al-Jazeera reports.
In an address on Sunday dedicated to Ukraine in St Peter’s Square, the head of the Catholic Church said he is haunted by “rivers of blood and tears”.
“My appeal goes above all to the president of the Russian Federation, begging him to stop this spiral of violence and death, even out of love for his own people,” he said.
Similarly, Pope Francis called on Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to be open to serious peace proposals to halt the ongoing war.
He also lamented the annexation of four Ukrainian regions by Russia’s troops, saying it risked nuclear escalation, hence urging Putin to think of his own people.
Recall that, Putin proclaimed the annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian regions, calling the residents of Ukraine’s occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions “our citizens forever”.
Ukraine and Western allies condemned the annexation as illegal, and Kyiv said it will continue fighting to recapture all occupied Ukrainian territory.