NEW DELHI: Pope Francis on Sunday (March 6, 2022) rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s use of the term “special military operation” for the ongoing invasion of Ukraine and urged him to stop the war.
During his weekly address to crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican City, the pope said that this is not just a military operation but a war which “sows death, destruction and misery”.
“In Ukraine, rivers of blood and tears are flowing. This is not just a military operation but a war which sows death, destruction and misery,” he said.
“In that martyred country the need for humanitarian assistance is growing by the hour,” the pope said.
“War is madness! Stop, please! Look at this cruelty,” he added.
“The Holy See is willing to do everything to put itself at the service of peace,” the pope said and stated that two Roman Catholic cardinals had gone to Ukraine to help those in need.
Pope Francis also thanked reporters who were covering the fighting despite the dangers , to report on the cruelty and suffering being experienced.
“I would also like to thank the journalists who put their lives at risk to provide information. Thank you, brothers and sisters, for this service that allows us to be close to the tragedy of that population and enables us to assess the cruelty of a war,” he said.
The comments, notably, were the strongest he had yet made about the violence. He, however, did not condemn Russia by name and instead, repeated his appeal for peace, the creation of humanitarian corridors and a return to negotiations.
It is noteworthy that Putin says Russia’s military operation is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as its dangerous nationalist rulers.
The fighting has entered day 12 on Monday and has so far killed over 360 civilians in Ukraine. The number of refugees who have fled the war-torn country since the invasion has also crossed the 1 million mark.