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Pope Francis urges diplomatic solution to Ukraine war on anniversary of invasion

Published 25/02/2024, 11:50
Updated 25/02/2024, 12:10
© Reuters. Local women stand next to their house heavily damaged by a Russian drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, February 24, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -Pope Francis on Sunday called for a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine that would lead to a just and lasting peace, as the second anniversary of Russia's invasion was marked a day earlier.

"So many victims, wounded, destruction, anguish, and tears in a period that is becoming terribly long and whose end is not in sight. It is a war that not only devastates that region but also unleashes global waves of hate and fear", Pope Francis said during his weekly Angelus message.

"I plead for that little bit of humanity to be found to create the conditions for a diplomatic solution in search of a just and lasting peace", he said.

Heads of the Group of Seven major democracies on Saturday pledged to stand by war-weary Ukraine, and Western leaders travelled to Kyiv to show solidarity on the second anniversary of Russia's invasion.

Francis said he was also concerned about escalating violence in the east region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Last week, violent clashes escalated between the DRC's army and Rwandan-backed M23 Tutsi-led rebels in eastern Congo, killing scores and displacing hundreds of thousands.

"I join the bishops in their call to pray for peace, hoping for an end to the clashes and a search for genuine and constructive dialogue", he said.

Francis reiterated his prayers for Israel, for Palestinians and for "the many war-torn peoples".

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