Pope Francis asked Putin to stop the spiral of violence and expressed regret for the annexation

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Pope Francis today "asked" Russian President Vladimir Putin to "stop the spiral of violence" in Ukraine and expressed deep regret for the annexation of Ukrainian regions, which is "contrary to international law".

From St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, the Pope addressed the Russian president, asking him "among other things, out of love for his own people, to stop this spiral of violence and death."

For the first time since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, on February 24, Pope Francis explicitly mentioned the Russian president in his speech.

The Holy Father also spoke for the first time about the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian territories, condemning "these latest moves that contradict the principles of international law".

– I deeply regret the serious situation that has been created in recent days (…) It increases the risk of nuclear escalation to the extent that there is fear of catastrophic consequences beyond control at the global level, he said.

The Pope also made a strong appeal to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, urging him to be "open to all serious proposals for peace."

Condemning once again the "madness" and "horror" of war, Pope Francis insisted on respecting the sanctity of human life and the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of every country".

Since February 24 and the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, the Holy See has been trying to maintain a sensitive diplomatic balance with both countries. Earlier, the pope condemned the "cruel and senseless" war, leaving open the possibility of dialogue with Moscow.

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