Pope Francis says Ukraine is being ‘martyred’ as he condemns ‘savageness, monstrosities and torture’ – and reveals his charity chief was SHOT AT while delivering aid
- The pope told his general audience of ‘tortured bodies’ unearthed in Ukraine
- Cardinal Konrad Krajewski had to dodge gunfire on a humanitarian mission
- Krajewski prayed at Izyum where mass Ukrainian graves were uncovered
Pope Francis has said Ukraine is being ‘martyred’ as he slammed Russia’s ‘monstrosity’ in Putin’s barbaric war.
Speaking at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Francis revealed his charity chief who is delivering aid in Ukraine had to run and take cover after coming under gunfire last week.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who is Polish, was forced to dodge bullets while on his fourth humanitarian and pastoral mission to Ukraine, sending supplies with a Catholic bishop, a Protestant bishop, and a Ukrainian soldier.
Pope Francis has said Ukraine is being ‘martyred’ as he slammed Russia’s ‘monstrosity’ in Putin’s barbaric war
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski (pictured), who is Polish, was forced to dodge bullets while on his fourth humanitarian and pastoral mission to Ukraine
The pope said he spoke with Krajewski yesterday, who had visited mass Ukrainian graves outside Izium, in northeast Ukraine.
Francis said today: ‘He (Krajewski) told me of the pain of these people, the savage acts, the monstrosity, the tortured bodies they find.
‘Let us unite with these people, so noble, and martyred.’
Ukrainian officials have said they have found hundreds of bodies, some with their hands tied behind their backs, buried in territory recaptured from Russian forces, in what President Volodymyr Zelensky called proof of war crimes.
Russia has consistently denied its troops have committed war crimes since its troops invaded Ukraine in February.
Ukrainian workers check bodies that were unearthed from graves in Izium, Kharkiv region
Destroyed houses and cars are seen, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Izium
On Monday, the Kremlin rejected allegations of such abuses in Kharkiv region, where Izium is located, as a ‘lie’.
Of the 111 civilian bodies exhumed by Wednesday, four showed signs of torture, Serhiy Bolvinov, the head of investigative police in the Kharkiv region, told Reuters at the burial ground.
The pope has come under fire during the war for not explicitly criticising Russia and suggesting the Kremlin’s invasion was ‘in some way provoked’.
But his comments today come as Putin dramatically escalated the war, ordering partial mobilisation and threatening the use of nuclear weapons.
Russia will also carry out a partial military mobilisation, Putin said, with veterans and reservists with combat or service experience called up (pictured, Russian marines in training)
He vowed to use ‘all means’ to defend the regions, saying: ‘If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff… I shall stress – by all means available to us.
‘Those trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the tables can turn on them.’
Putin’s gambit comes after Ukraine routed a large part of the Russian army last week, leaving him backed into a corner of his own making and facing the possible collapse of his so-called ‘special military operation’.
But rather than back down, the Russian leader has instead chosen to double down and hold the free world to ransom – putting Russia and its huge nuclear arsenal on direct collision course with Ukraine and its allies, who have already vowed not to accept the results of ‘sham’ referendums or to stop liberating occupied territory.
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