Pope Francis Accuses ‘Cruel’ Russia of ‘Armed Conquest, Expansionism, and Imperialism’ in Ukraine

Pope Francis has accused Russia of carrying out a ‘cruel and senseless war of aggression’ just weeks after he was slammed for suggesting Vladimir Putin’s invasion was ‘provoked’.

The Catholic leader told a delegation of Orthodox leaders in Rome that the Kremlin is engaged in ‘armed conquest, expansionism and imperialism’ in Ukraine.

He referred to the conflict as one pitting Christians against one another, with Ukraine home to a sizeable Catholic minority.

‘Reconciliation among separated Christians, as a means of contributing to peace between peoples in conflict, is a most timely consideration these days, as our world is disrupted by a cruel and senseless war of aggression in which many, many Christians are fighting one another,’ the pope said.

The Eastern and Western branches of Christianity separated in the Great Schism of 1054.

The pope also told his Orthodox visitors, in a clear reference to Russia, that all needed ‘to recognise that armed conquest, expansionism and imperialism have nothing to do with the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed’.

It was the second consecutive day that the Pope spoke on the Ukraine conflict.

On Wednesday he condemned the bombing of a crowded shopping centre in the city of Kremenchuk, the latest in string of ‘barbarous attacks’ against Ukraine.

But the critical comments towards Russia come two weeks after the pope faced a backlash with his sympathetic remarks towards the invasion.

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Source: Daily Mail