Apr 2, 2022 - World

Pope Francis criticizes Putin over Russia's "savage" war

 Pope Francis speaks to journalists on a plane in Malta, Valletta.

Pope Francis speaks to journalists on a plane in Valletta, Malta, on April 2. Photo: Johannes Neudecker/picture alliance via Getty Images

Pope Francis on Saturday implicitly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching a "savage" war in Ukraine in his sharpest rebuke of the Russian president yet, AP reports.

Driving the news: "We had thought that invasions of other countries, savage street fighting and atomic threats were grim memories of a distant past,” the Pope told Maltese officials on the Mediterranean island nation during a weekend visit.

  • Francis also said that the possibility of a visit to Kyiv "is on the table," but a trip has not yet been scheduled.

The big picture: Francis has previously condemned Russia's invasion on Ukraine, saying the "unacceptable armed aggression" and "massacre" must stop, but he has avoided referring to Russia or Putin by name, AP notes.

  • He also had previously only referred to Russia directly in prayers, Reuters notes.
  • But on Saturday he inched closer to blaming Putin for the war.
  • "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," he said.

Go deeper: Pope Francis visits Ukrainian children at Vatican hospital

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