It’s ‘madness’ to think of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine says Pope


It is madness, said Pope Francis when he heard Russia was threatening to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West he is not bluffing about using the weapons of mass destruction.

He ordered Russia’s first mobilisation since World War Two and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine.

Without naming Russia or Putin, Francis told the crowd in St Peter’s Square last Wednesday that even thinking of using nuclear weapons is “madness”.

Ukrainians are being subjected to savageness, monstrosities and torture, he added. They are a “noble” people being martyred.

He then told the crowd of a conversation he had on Tuesday with Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.

The Polish cardinal (pictured with his ambulance) leads Francis’s aid work in Ukraine.

Krajewski had to run and take cover after coming under light gunfire last week, Francis said. At the time, the cardinal had been delivering aid with a Catholic bishop, a Protestant bishop and a Ukrainian soldier.

Cardinal Krajewski also visited mass graves outside Izium, in northeast Ukraine.

“He (Krajewski) told me of the pain of these people, the savage acts, the monstrosity, the tortured bodies they find. Let us unite with these people, so noble and martyred,” Francis told the crowd.

Ukrainian officials say they have found hundreds of bodies. Some have their hands tied behind their backs. They are buried in territory recaptured from Russian forces.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says their bodies provide proof of war crimes,

Of the 111 civilian bodies exhumed by Wednesday, four showed signs of torture according to the head of investigative police in the Kharkiv region where Izium is located.

Russia has consistently denied its troops have committed war crimes since it invaded Ukraine in February.

On Monday last week, two days before the exhumations, the Kremlin rejected allegations of such abuses in Kharkiv region. The allegations are a “lie”, the Kremlin said.

A contrasting world view

After discussing the situation in Ukraine with the crowd, Francis then spoke of his trip to Kazakhstan which took place early last week.

The central Asian country gave up its nuclear weapons in 1991 after its independence from the Soviet Union.

“This was courageous,” Francis told the crowd.

“At a time in this tragic [Ukraine] war where some are thinking of nuclear weapons – which is madness – this country said ‘no’ to nuclear weapons from the start.”

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