Pope calls for peace in Ukraine, Russians support Putin

PHOTO: Pope Francis used his Christmas Day address to condemn the war in Ukraine. (via Vatican Media)

The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, gave his traditional Christmas Day address in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City, Rome, which was broadcast throughout the world. The Pope used the opportunity to urge an end to the “senseless” war in Ukraine. Calling for peace is a standard message in the Pope’s Christmas address.

This year he gave his address from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica while an estimated 70,000 people gathered in the square below, with some holding and waving Ukrainian flags. The 86 year old holy man directly addressed the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February and spoke directly to the people affected.

“[To] our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are experiencing this Christmas in the dark and cold, far from their homes. May the Lord inspire us to offer concrete gestures of solidarity to assist all those who are suffering, and may he enlighten the minds of those who have the power to silence the thunder of weapons and put an immediate end to this senseless war! Tragically, we prefer to heed other counsels, dictated by worldly ways of thinking. Our time is experiencing a grave famine of peace also in other regions and other theatres of this third world war.”

Pope Francis has been an advocate for peace since the original February invasion of Ukraine. But he has not always been forthright, failing to harshly condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to keep some sort of relations between the Vatican and Russia.

He also mentioned conflicts in other parts of the world, including Myanmar, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Haiti, Lebanon, and the continual conflict between Israel and Palestine. He even brought up reconciliation in Iran where women’s rights protests have been growing over the last several months.

The Pope spoke about the effect of the Russian invasion beyond just the people of Ukraine as well. He discussed the war’s effect on food distribution throughout the world.

“The war in Ukraine has further aggravated this situation, putting entire peoples at risk of famine, especially in Afghanistan and in the countries of the Horn of Africa. We know that every war causes hunger and exploits food as a weapon, hindering its distribution to people already suffering. On this day, let us learn from the Prince of Peace (Christ) and, starting with those who hold political responsibilities, commit ourselves to making food solely an instrument of peace.”

Meanwhile, Asia News Today reports that a recent poll found over 74% of Russians approve of Vladimir Putin despite, or perhaps because of, the war in Ukraine. VTSIOM, the government-owned research centre that conducted the poll, interviewed 1600 adult Russians by phone. The survey was carried out between December 12 and December 18.

The United Russia party that currently rules the country received 37.7% support. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin was rated trustworthy by 59.6% of the respondents. But an overwhelming 78.1% of those surveyed said that they put their trust and faith in Putin.

World News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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