Wednesday, 27 September 2023
WorldWhat was Pope Francis' 'flattery' to Russia that 'enraged' Ukraine?

What was Pope Francis’ ‘flattery’ to Russia that ‘enraged’ Ukraine?

The Vatican tried to retract Pope Francis’ comments after he told the Russians last week to be proud to be “the heirs” of “that great Russian empire” in comments that sparked outrage in Ukraine.

The foreign ministry in kyiv called the pope’s remarks, made in a speech to young Russians on Friday, “sad” and said his remarks supported the “imperialist ideas” adopted by the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The Vatican said Francis’ comments, in which he told Russians to honor “the legacy” of leaders who forcibly expanded Russia’s borders, including Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, were not intended to praise expansionist thought.

“The Pope intended to encourage young people to preserve and promote all that is positive in the great Russian cultural and spiritual heritageand certainly not exalt the imperialist logic and the personalities of the government,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.


The Pope’s mention of Peter and Catherine was made “to indicate some historical periods of reference,” he added.

The boss of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church He denounced the comments as an endorsement of “Russian nationalism and imperialism that has caused the war in Ukraine today, a war that brings death and destruction to our people every day.”

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed and injured in the war in Ukraine, which began in 2014, when Russian forces seized Crimea and organized separatist uprisings in their neighbor’s Russian-speaking east. Then it escalated when Putin launched a full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022.

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