The interests of various countries, not just Russia, are driving the hostilities, the pope said
Russia is not alone “rich” whose interests are driving the conflict in Ukraine, Pope Francis said in an interview with Swiss television RSI, to be released on Sunday. Excerpts from the interview were published by various Italian media on Friday.
Asked about the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the pope noted that it had grown into one “World War” Where “the great powers are all entwined.”
“The battlefield is Ukraine. Everyone fights there. This reminds the industry of weapons.” noted the Pope.
He said that on the second day after Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine, he went to the Russian embassy and offered to travel to Moscow to personally negotiate with President Vladimir Putin. However, he said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had told him this was so “not the time.”
The pope stated that Putin knows that the opportunity to negotiate peace is always available, but acknowledged that there are “imperial interests” play in the Ukrainian conflict, and “not only from the Russian Empire, but from empires elsewhere.”
“It is the job of the empire to put nations second”, exclaimed the pope.
Francis has repeatedly called for a peaceful end to the hostilities that have gripped Ukraine over the past year. However, after suggesting that it was conflict “perhaps provoked in some way or not prevented” and that one “interest in testing and selling weapons” during the game, the pope did point out that he is not a supporter of Putin.
“It would be simplistic and incorrect to say such a thing,” the pope stressed in an interview in June, adding “I’m just against bending a complex situation into a distinction between good and bad, without considering the roots and self-interests, which are very complex.”
The pope made similar comments in an interview with Spain’s ABC newspaper in December, where he also suggested so “War is waged when an empire begins to weaken. And when there are weapons that need to be used, tested and sold. The stakes are high.”
Meanwhile, Moscow has repeatedly described the conflict in Ukraine as one “proxy war” being waged against it by the US and its allies. Putin has pointed out that the West is now looking for a global conflict, with some NATO officials openly calling for the “strategic defeat of Russia.”
He has also blamed Kiev and its Western backers for the conflict in Ukraine for launching the 2014 war against the people of Donbass. However, he noted that although Russia “has not started military activities”, it is now trying to terminate them.
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