Pope Francis on Sunday called for an Easter ceasefire in Ukraine to pave the way for peace through “real negotiation”.
“Let the Easter truce begin. But not to provide more weapons and pick up the combat again — no! — a truce that will lead to peace, through real negotiation,” he told a public mass at Saint Peter’s Square.
The pontiff denounced a war where “defenceless civilians” suffered “heinous massacres and atrocious cruelty”.
“What victory is there in planting a flag on a pile of rubble?” he asked.
Francis on Wednesday had already condemned the targeting of civilians in Ukraine, calling the discovery of bodies in Bucha near Kyiv a “massacre” and embracing a Ukrainian flag from the “martyred town”.
He has also expressed his willingness to contribute to halting the fighting in Ukraine and said he would be ready to travel to Kyiv.
Russia has denied responsibility for the apparent killings of civilians in Bucha, accusing Ukraine of staging them. Moscow has not provided any evidence to back up its claim.