Pope questions intervention of a ‘superpower’ in Russia-Ukraine war, critiques NATO role again

Reiterating his disapproval over NATO’s alleged overtures, the Pope said the war was either ‘provoked or not prevented’.

New Delhi: The war in Ukraine has “destined to impose on our world a very different scenario”, Pope Francis said this week.

Addressing the 6th World Day of the Poor, the Pope said this had been made more complex due to the intervention of a “superpower” aimed at “imposing its own will in violation of the principle of the self-determination of peoples”.

Pope Francis spoke about the great poverty produced by the “senselessness of war” and how violence “strikes those who are defenceless and vulnerable”.

“In these situations,” he added, “reason is darkened and those who feel its effects are the countless ordinary people who end up being added to the already great numbers of those in need.”

In separate news, the Italian daily La Stampa published Tuesday the Pope’s conversation with editors of Jesuit publications during which he said the war in Ukraine “was perhaps in some way either provoked or not prevented”.

The pontiff told editors that people see “the brutality and ferocity with which this war is waged by the troops, generally mercenary, used by the Russians”.

“But the danger is that we only see this, which is monstrous, and we do not see the whole drama that is unfolding behind this war, which was perhaps in some way either provoked or not prevented. And I register an interest in testing and selling weapons. It is very sad, but basically this is what is at stake,” Pope Francis said.

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Asked if he was in favour of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, the Pope answered: “No, I am not, I am simply opposed to reducing complexity to distinction between good and bad – without thinking about roots and interests, which are very complex.”

Pope Francis said before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine he met a head of state who was “very worried about how NATO was moving”.

The Pope said this head of state told him that NATO was “barking at the gates of Russia. And they do not understand that the Russians are imperial and do not allow any foreign power to approach them”. The Pope was also told that “the situation could lead to war”.

This is not the first time the head of the Catholic Church has shown concern over the West’s role in Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The Pope hopes to meet Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church in September in Kazakhstan, he added.

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