Pope Francis implicitly criticized on Saturday (local time) Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has recently driven Ukraine into war, as an “anachronistic” leader, denouncing Putin in public for the first time. He added that he considers visiting Kyiv in the near future.
Pope Francis described Russia’s invasion into Ukraine as an “infantile and destructive aggression" on Saturday in a speech in Malta, one of the Mediterranean island countries, saying, “The icy winds of war, which bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake, have swept down powerfully upon the lives of many people and affected us all,” Reuters reported.
Although not mentioning President Putin explicitly, Pope Francis strongly criticized, “Once again, some potentate, sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests, is provoking and fomenting conflicts.” The Associated Press wrote that the pope has called for an end of the Ukrainian War without mentioning Russia or Putin by name, adding, “But Saturday’s criticism of the powerful figure responsible for the war marked a new level of outrage for the pope.”
Asked if he would visit Kyiv on his flight to Malta, Pope Francis replied that it is “on the table.”
The New York Times said that Pope Francis may visit Kyiv soon as he has arrived in Malta, a neighboring nation of Ukraine with many war refugees flowing in, expecting that he may deliver a significant message to bring an end to war. Seemingly having a growing number of refugees that are shunned by many countries near Ukraine in mind, Pope Francis called on them to open their arms more widely, saying that Europe has a sufficient chunk of land and many countries to protect war refugees with dignity.
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