April 3 (UPI) — Pope Francis on Sunday condemned the “sacrilegious war” in Ukraine and said that the country had been “martyred.”
“Let us now pray to her for peace as we think of the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in war-torn Ukraine, still under the bombardment of this sacrilegious war,” Francis said, according to the Catholic News Agency. “May we be tireless in praying and in offering assistance to those who suffer.”
Francis, speaking from a trip to Malta, also encouraged people to think of the “humanitarian tragedy of the martyred Ukraine,” according to Vatican News, which is funded by the Holy See.
His comments came after Ukraine’s Defense Ministry accused Russian forces of executing civilians in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, near Kyiv. Francis had traveled to Malta to call attention to the refugee crisis caused by the war.
Francis said Saturday he is considering visiting Kyiv after receiving an invitation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko.
“Once again, some potentate, sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests, is provoking and fomenting conflicts, whereas ordinary people sense the need to build a future that will either be shared, or not be at all,” Francis said in comments from Malta on Saturday.
Pope Francis is expected to again meet with migrants in Hal Far before leaving Malta on Sunday night.