Pope Francis criticizes Russia, but says war in Ukraine may have been 'provoked'

Pope Francis criticized the Kremlin for the war in Ukraine, which began with the Russian invasion in February 24, but said the conflict may have been “provoked ”.

The views of the Supreme Pontiff were expressed in a conversation with the directors of the Jesuit Magazines, during an audience at the Vatican in 19 May , and the entirety of the meeting was published in this Tuesday’s edition (14) of the magazine La Civiltà Cattolica. Part of the conversation was reproduced by Vatican News.

In the conversation, Francis criticized “the brutality and ferocity with which this war is being conducted by the troops, usually mercenary, used by the Russians. ”, who, in the pope’s opinion, “prefer to send Chechens, Syrians, mercenaries.”

“But the danger is that we only see this, which is monstrous, and we do not see all the drama that is unfolding behind this war, which perhaps was somehow provoked or not prevented. And I note the interest in testing and selling weapons. It is very sad, but in the end this is what is at stake”, said the Pope.

“Can anyone say to me at this moment: ‘But you are in favor of the Putin!’ No, I’m not. It would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing. I am simply against reducing complexity [do momento] to the distinction between good and bad, without thinking about roots and interests, which are very complex. While we see the ferocity, the cruelty of the Russian troops, we must not forget the problems, in order to try to solve them”, justified Francis.

In the conversation, the Pope called the Ukrainians of “a brave people, a people who are struggling to survive and who have a history of struggle”, but said that there are also conflicts in other regions of the world, such as northern Nigeria and Congo, and “nobody cares”.

Finally, Francis said he hopes to meet Cyril of Moscow, patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, criticized for his support for Putin, at a general meeting in Kazakhstan in September: “I hope to be able to greet him and talk a little with him as a pastor.”

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