June 10, 2023

ROME – Pope Francis on Wednesday reiterated his sorrow over the “painful” situation in Ukraine, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the specter of nuclear war.

“I want to mention the terrible situation in the painful Ukraine,” he told the crowd gathered for his weekly general at the Vatican. audience.

The pope noted that Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, is currently in Odessa as Francis’ envoy to the country, the cardinal’s fourth such visit since the Russian invasion. It was reported this week that Krajewski was shot dead as he brought food and other humanitarian aid to Ukrainians on the front lines.

“He telephoned me yesterday,” Francis recounted. “He told me of the pain, the brutality, the monsters, the tortured corpses of this people.”

“Let us unite ourselves with these people who are so noble and martyred,” he concluded.

President Putin on Tuesday night to warn In a national address that “Russia will use all the tools at its disposal to counter threats against its territorial integrity – this is not a bluff.”

Russia has “many types of destructive weapons, the components of which are in some cases more modern than those of NATO countries,” Putin declared.

Putin’s thinly veiled threat to call in a nuclear response in Ukraine as well as protectorates follows a series of humiliating military losses in which Ukraine has reclaimed large swaths of previously occupied territory.

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