Aug 30, 2022 - World

Vatican, for first time, says Russia initiated war with Ukraine

Pope Francis arrives in a wheelchair to preside over a mass with the new Cardinals and the College of Cardinals on Aug. 30 at St. Peter's Basilica in The Vatican. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP via Getty Images

The Vatican on Tuesday for the first time explicitly said Russia was the instigator of the war with Ukraine.

Driving the news: "As for the large-scale war in Ukraine, initiated by the Russian Federation, the Holy Father Francis' interventions are clear and unequivocal in condemning it as morally unjust, unacceptable, barbaric, senseless, repugnant, and sacrilegious," the Vatican said in a statement.

  • Tuesday's statement comes in response to "polemics that have arisen in recent days concerning the words of Pope Francis," the Vatican explained, pointing out that the Pope speaks as "a pastor who defends every human life, and not as a politician."

Context: Last week, the Pope called Darya Dugina, a Russian ultranationalist in support of the invasion of Ukraine, who was killed by a car bomb, an "innocent" victim, per the New York Times.

  • Ukraine expressed dismay and "profound disappointment" over the Pope’s words.
  • Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of her killing.
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