Pope Francis kisses a Ukrainian flag and denounces the

Rome — A somber Pope Francis denounced the “massacre in Bucha” and kissed a battered Ukrainian flag from the decimated town near Ukraine‘s capital on Wednesday during his weekly general audience at the Vatican.

“Recent news from the war in Ukraine, instead of bringing relief and hope, brought new atrocities, such as the massacre of Bucha,” he said toward the end of the audience. 

Pope Francis holds a flag of Ukraine that comes from the town of Bucha, one of the areas around Ukraine’s capital from which Russian troops have withdrawn and where dozens of bodies in civilian clothing have been found, during his weekly general audience on April 6, 2022, at Paul-VI hall in The Vatican.


“Cruelty that is increasingly horrendous, also against civilians, defenseless women and children. They are victims whose innocent blood cries out up to heaven and implores: ‘Stop this war! Let the weapons fall silent! Stop sowing death and destruction’,” said Francis.

The pope then held up the stained Ukrainian flag and invited a group of Ukrainian refugee children accompanied by two women to join him at the podium. He folded the flag and kissed it.   

“These children had to flee and come to a strange land. This is one of the fruits of war,” he said. “Let’s not forget them, and let’s not forget the Ukrainian people.”

Pope Francis kisses the Ukrainian flag
Pope Francis kisses a Ukrainian flag that was sent to him from the town of Bucha, where a mass grave and other signs of civilian executions were found, during his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, joined on stage by Ukrainian refugees, April 6, 2022. 

Vatican Media/Handout/REUTERS

It is estimated that about 90% of the more than 4.2 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled their country since Russia invaded on February 24 are women and children.

A day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the United Nations of failing to stop Russia’s brutal assault on his country, Pope Francis echoed the sentiment.   

After World War II, countries tried to lay the foundations for a “new era of peace,” the pontiff said on Wednesday, “but unfortunately the old story of competition between the greater powers went on, and in the current war in Ukraine, we are witnessing the impotence of international organizations.”

Zelenskyy accuses Russia of war crimes in U.N. plea


Francis has pleaded incessantly for the cessation of hostilities since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The pope has confirmed that he’s considering a trip to Kyiv, and that Vatican diplomats are working behind the scenes in a bid to stop the war.


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