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Pope Francis says NATO, ‘barking at Russia’s door,’ shares blame for Ukraine

(Photograph: Getty/iStock)

(RNS) — Pope Francis instructed an Italian newspaper on Tuesday that NATO could also be partly accountable for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and he mentioned he hopes to go to Moscow to fulfill with Russian President Vladimir Putin in hopes of brokering a peace.

Speaking to reporters from Il Corriere della Sera, Francis mentioned that “NATO barking at Russia’s doorways” could have raised alarms within the Kremlin in regards to the Western European alliance’s intentions in Ukraine. “I am unable to say if (Russia’s) anger was provoked,” he continued, “however facilitated, perhaps sure.”

Within the interview, Francis once more recalled his first response to the information of the invasion in late February. On the primary day of struggle, he mentioned, he known as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after which left his condominium on an impromptu visit to Aleksandr Avdeyev, Russia’s ambassador to the Holy See.

“I needed to make a transparent gesture for the entire world to see and because of this I went to the Russian ambassador,” the pope mentioned.

The pope praised Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin for his position in looking for diplomacy choices for a decision to the struggle. “A terrific diplomat,” the pope mentioned about his second in command on the Vatican. “He is aware of the right way to transfer on this world, I belief and open up to him so much.”

Parolin issued a message from the pope to Putin after 20 days of struggle in Ukraine, Francis mentioned, which said his intention to go to Moscow. “We’ve not but obtained a solution and we’re nonetheless pushing,” the pope mentioned, “even when I concern that Putin doesn’t need to have this assembly right now.”

Referring to a battle that has already induced virtually 3,000 civilian casualties, based on the United Nations, the pope requested, “How are you going to cease such brutality?” He appeared to match the violence in Ukraine to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

Whereas expressing his intention to grow to be the primary pope to go to Russia, a dream lengthy harbored by his predecessors, Francis mentioned that he is not going to go to Kyiv in the intervening time. The pope has despatched two representatives, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski and Cardinal Michael Czerny, to the Ukrainian border as a present of closeness with the Ukrainian folks.

“However I really feel that I mustn’t go,” he mentioned. “I need to first go to Moscow, I need to first meet with Putin. However I’m a priest, what can I do? I do what I can. If solely Putin would open the door.”

Francis additionally addressed Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, with whom the Vatican has entertained a number of diplomatic efforts and whom the pope met for the primary time in Havana in 2016. For the reason that starting of battle, Kirill has been an outspoken supporter of Putin’s declare for hegemony in Ukraine, elevating tensions in Catholic-Orthodox relations.

Kirill spoke to Francis via Zoom conference on March 16 since their assembly, initially scheduled March 16 in Jerusalem, needed to be canceled because of the begin of the Russian-Ukrainian battle. “Holding a paper in his arms, (Kirill) learn me all of the justifications for the struggle for the primary 20 minutes,” Francis mentioned.

“Brother, we’re not clerics of the state,” Francis was mentioned to have replied. “We can not use the language of politics, however of Jesus. For that reason, we should search roads to peace, to stop the firing of weapons.”

“The Patriarch can’t be reworked into Putin’s altar boy,” Francis mentioned, including that Kirill now agrees on the necessity to discover a highway to peace.

© Religion News Service

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