Pope Francis says he may visit Kyiv and blasts Russia for

Pope Francis says he is studying a possible visit to Kyiv and he blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching a “savage” war, as he arrived in Malta and delivered his most pointed and personalized denunciation yet of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Francis didn’t cite Putin by name, but the reference was clear when he said that “some potentate” had unleashed the threat of nuclear war on the world in an “infantile and destructive aggression” under the guise of “anachronist claims of nationalistic interests.”

Speaking to Maltese authorities Saturday, Francis said: “We had thought that invasions of other countries, savage street fighting and atomic threats were grim memories of a distant past.” 

Pope Francis (C), flanked by Malta’s Prime Minister, Robert Abela (L) and Malta’s President, George Vella (R) waves from the balcony of the presidential Palace on April 2, 2022 in Valletta, Malta, on the first day of the Pope’s two-day trip to the Mediterranean archipelago.


Francis has to date avoided referring to Russia or Putin by name. But Saturday’s personalization of the powerful figure responsible marked a new level of outrage for the pope, who spoke as a humanitarian crisis in the encircled Ukrainian port city of Mariupol deepened, and after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of mines outside the capital, Kyiv.

There are still more than 150,000 residents left inside Mariupol — unable or unwilling to leave as Russian tanks continue to pound what’s left of it. On Saturday, another Red Cross convoy was expected to attempt to evacuate more residents from the city, which has been under siege for five weeks. 


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