Pope Francis described the war in Ukraine on Sundayas a “macabre regression of humanity” and declared the city ofMariupol had been “barbarously bombarded and destroyed”.
However, the pope did not specifically say that Russia was responsible for the war or the assault onMariupol – in line with the Vatican’s controversial policy of avoiding direct criticism from Moscow in the hope of keeping space open for meditation.
In a 15-minute address to thousands in St. Peter’s Square, the pope said his “thoughts go immediately to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the city of Mary, barbarously bombed and destroyed.” For Catholics, the month of May is dedicated to Mary, the mother of God.
The pope also renewed his calls for the creation of “safe humanitarian corridors” for those stranded in Mariupol. Over the weekend, Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that a small group of people managed to escape from the besieged cityAzovstal Steel Plant. But some 1,000 people are still believed to be trapped inside.
Describing the conflict as “a macabre regression of humanity”, the pope also wondered aloud if there was a real will to avoid an ongoing military and verbal escalation and to “silence the guns”. “.
“I suffer and cry thinking about the suffering of the Ukrainian people, especially the weakest, the elderly, the children,” he said.