As the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine approaches, Pope Francis renews his appeal for "concrete efforts to end the conflict, to reach a ceasefire and to start peace negotiations."
During his General Audience in the Vatican on Ash Wednesday morning, the Pope said his thoughts go again to the people of the country, who have been suffering the effects of war for almost an entire year.
“Dear brothers and sisters, the day after tomorrow, 24 February, it will be one year since the invasion of Ukraine,” he said, “one year since the beginning of this absurd and cruel war, a sad anniversary.”
“The toll of dead, wounded, refugees, those isolated, destructions, economic and social damage speaks for itself,” the Holy Father continued. “May the Lord forgive all these crimes and all this violence: He is the God of peace.”
“Let us remain close to the tormented Ukrainian people,” he said, “who continue to suffer and ask ourselves: has everything possible been done to stop the war? I appeal to those in authority over nations to make concrete efforts to end the conflict, reach a ceasefire and start peace negotiations. Whatever is built on rubble can never be a true victory.”
Since the war began, the Pope has made countless appeals for peace, and for an end to the violence claiming countless lives and injuring scores of other people.
Pope Francis has always expressed the Holy See’s availability to help with peacemaking efforts and his interest in visiting both countries.
He has sent representatives to Ukraine various times on his behalf and sent aid and supplies.