Pope Francis, has defended himself against criticism that his statements on the war in Ukraine are political messages.
At the same time, however, the Vatican for the first time directly named Russia as the initiator of the war, according to a statement from the Holy See on Tuesday.
“As for the large-scale war in Ukraine, initiated by the Russian Federation, the Holy Father Francis’ interventions are clear and unequivocal in condemning it as morally unjust, unacceptable, barbaric, senseless, repugnant, and sacrilegious,” the statement said.
The head of the Catholic Church wanted to promote peace above all with his remarks, the statement read.
“The Holy Father’s words on this dramatic issue should be interpreted as a voice raised in defense of human life and the values associated with it, and not as a political stance.”
Since the outbreak of the war in February, the pontiff has been asking the warring parties to reach a ceasefire but came under criticism for not naming Russia as one of the parties.
Last week, the pope caused outrage during an audience as he spoke of innocents and remembered Darya Dugina, a pro-Kremlin activist who was killed in a bomb attack near Moscow.
Following Tuesday’s statement, the Ukrainian ambassador to the Holy See Andrii Yurash said on Twitter that there is no doubt who the aggressor is and that the two sides cannot be equated.
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