Pope Francis has called for an end to the "spiral of violence and death" in Ukraine while expressing concern about the risk of a nuclear escalation on the planet. "My appeal is addressed above all to the President of the Russian Federation, begging him to stop, also for the love of his people, this spiral of violence and death", the Pontiff said, addressing Putin for the first time in public, but without citing his Name.
The Pope has replaced the catechesis of the Angelus with this reflection in which he has called on the world to resort to "diplomatic instruments" to stop this "serious, devastating and threatening" conflict. And, likewise, he has encouraged the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelensky, to "be open to serious peace proposals."
Leaning out of the window of the Apostolic Palace, the Pontiff confessed the "profound pain" caused by "the rivers of blood and tears witnessed these months", "the thousands of victims, particularly children" and "the many destructions that have left many people and families homeless and threaten vast territories with cold and hunger".
"And what about the fact that humanity finds itself once again facing the atomic threat? It's absurd. What else must happen? How much blood must still be shed for us to understand that war is never the solution, but only destruction? ", he questioned.
Pope Francis demands that "an immediate ceasefire" be reached, that "weapons be silenced and the conditions sought to begin negotiations capable of leading to solutions not imposed by force, but agreed, fair and stable."
These, he pointed out, "must be based on respect for the sacrosanct value of human life, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of every country, as well as the rights of minorities and their legitimate concerns."
Francis has not hesitated to deplore "the serious situation created in recent days with new actions contrary to the principles of international law", such as the Russian annexation of four Ukrainian regions, which Francis did not want to specify.
These actions, in his opinion, "increase the risk of a nuclear escalation to the point of fearing uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences worldwide."
His appeal, in addition to being addressed to Putin and Zelensky, was also addressed to "all the protagonists of international life" so that they "do everything possible to put an end to the ongoing war without allowing themselves to be dragged into dangerous escalations and to promote and support dialogue initiatives".
"Please, let's make the young generations breathe the healthy air of peace, not the polluted air of war, which is crazy. After seven months of hostilities, let all diplomatic instruments be resorted to, including those until now eventually unused, to bring this enormous tragedy to an end", he concluded.
Francis has shown concern at all times about the war in Ukraine, coming to value a trip to that country, and on this occasion he decided to dedicate the entire Angelus to reflecting on the problem, something that rarely happens, the last one in 2013 to ask peace in Syria.