Pope Calls On Russia And Ukraine To Seek Reconciliation

Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Regina Caeli noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 18, 2021. Pope Francis said he is happy to be back greeting the faithful in St. Peter’s Square faithful for his traditional Sunday noon blessing after weeks of lockdown measures. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

(AP) — Pope Francis has voiced apprehension over a recent Russian troop buildup near the border with Ukraine and called for efforts to ease tensions in the 7-year conflict in eastern Ukraine pitting Ukrainian forces against Russia-backed rebels.

Ukrainian authorities say cease-fire violations have become more frequent in recent weeks. They accused Russia of fueling tensions by deploying 41,000 troops near the border with Ukraine and 42,000 to Crimea, where Russia maintains a large naval base.

Francis said in remarks to the public gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday that he hoped “gestures are made capable of promoting reciprocal trust and favoring the reconciliation and the peace which are so necessary and so desired.”


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