April 1, 2023

ROME — As Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the specter of nuclear war, Pope Francis on Wednesday again expressed his anguish over the “tortured” situation in Ukraine.

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

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

“He called me yesterday,” Francis recalled. “He told me about the man’s pain, the savagery, the monsters and the tortured corpses they found.”

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

On Tuesday night, President Putin warn In a national address, “Russia will use all the tools at its disposal to confront threats to its territorial integrity — not bluff.”

Putin declared that Russia “has many types of weapons of destruction, in some cases components more modern than those of NATO countries”.

Ukraine has reclaimed swathes of previously occupied territory ahead of Putin’s threat of a nuclear reaction in Ukraine and a veiled threat to call in reservists.

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