Pope implicitly criticizes Russia over Ukraine

STORY: The 85-year-old pope made his comments in his twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) address to about 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square after a long Mass. It was the first Easter since 2019 that the public was allowed to attend following two years of COVID-19 restrictions.

Francis dedicated much of the address, traditionally an overview of world conflicts, to Ukraine, comparing the shock of another war in Europe to the shock apostles who the gospel says saw the risen Jesus.

"Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war. We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence. Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing," he said.

Ukraine, he said, was "sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged".

Moscow describes the action it launched on February 24 a "special military operation". Francis has already rejected that terminology, calling it a war and previously using terms such as unjustified aggression and invasion.

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