10/02/2022, 12.56
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Pope's Angelus appeal to Putin and Zelensky for an end to the 'terrible' Ukrainian war

The pontiff dedicated a reflection preceding the Marian prayer to the drift of the conflict and fears of nuclear escalation. Moscow must stop the war and Kiev must open up to "serious peace proposals". The memory of the thousands of victims, including children. 'Agreed, just and stable' solutions. Prayers for typhoon victims in Cuba and Florida and those at the stadium in Indonesia. 

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The course of the war in Ukraine is "so serious and devastating" as to arouse "great concern" about a possible nuclear - and global - drift in the conflict.

Pope Francis has issued an unprecedented heartfelt appeal for an end to the conflict launched by Russia in Ukraine, though without naming them directly, to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky so that a "terrible and inconceivable" wound to humanity, which "bleeds more and more" and risks "widening", might be healed. 

Todays Angelus was overturned, testifying to the very real escalation on Europe's doorstep that risks dragging the whole world into an atomic conflict of devastating consequences.

The Pope's reflection preceded the Marian prayer and did not focus on the Sunday readings as usual, but analysed the terrible consequences of Moscow's war on Kiev.

This choice that has very few precedents, only September 2013 during the early stages of the war in Syria.  ù

Pope Francis addressed direct and strong words to the two leaders and the international community, for a world that has never before, not even at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, been so close to the brink of a nuclear conflict. At the same time, he stigmatises the annexations that threaten to distort the map and geography of the country and the rights of minorities, as well as the pain of the thousands of victims, particularly children". 

He said: "I am grieved by the rivers of blood and tears shed in these months. I am saddened, by the thousands of victims, especially among children, and the many destructions that have left many people and families homeless and threaten vast territories with cold and hunger. Certain actions can never be justified, never! It is distressing that the world is learning the geography of Ukraine through names like Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Izium, Zaporizhzhia and other places, which have become places of indescribable suffering and fear. And what about the fact that humanity is once again faced with the atomic threat? It is absurd". 

Continuing his reflection, the Pontiff wondered how much blood still has to flow "so that we understand that war is never a solution, but only destruction? In the name of God and in the name of the sense of humanity that dwells in every heart, I renew my appeal, for an immediate ceasefire. Let there be a cease-fire and let us seek the conditions for negotiations that can lead to solutions that are not imposed by force, but agreed, just and stable. And such they will be if based on respect for the sacrosanct value of human life, as well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country, and the rights of minorities and legitimate concerns".

Francis then recalled the fear of a "nuclear escalation" that could have "uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences worldwide". He addressed the "supplication" to stop "also for the love of his people, this spiral of violence and death" to the president of the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile he appealed to the leader of a "suffering people" like the Ukrainian one who is the victim of "aggression" he addresses "an equally confident appeal" to be "open to serious proposals for peace".

Then turning "to all the protagonists of international life and to the political leaders of nations," the pope broadened the horizon of his appeal, "I insistently ask them to do everything within their power to put an end to the current war, without allowing themselves to be involved in dangerous escalations, and to promote and support initiatives for dialogue. Please, let the young generations breathe the healthy air of peace, not the polluted air of war, which is madness!". In conclusion, the Pontiff emphasised that "after seven months of hostilities, all diplomatic means should be used, even those that have not been used so far, to bring this terrible tragedy to an end. War in itself is an error and a horror!". 

After a long reflection on the war in Ukraine and the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Pope then extended his sympathy to the people of Cuba and Florida for the violent hurricane that hit them. And he said to pray for those who lost their lives in the clashes at the end of a football match in Indonesia. The reference was to the violence at the Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang (East Java), in which more than 180 people died, nearly 200 were injured.

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