Pope Francis urged for Russia and Ukraine to reach a truce during the Easter holiday, as people in the war-torn country prepare for the Christian holy week.
The pope’s comments came during his recitation of the Angelus prayer from St. Peter’s Square on Palm Sunday.
“Let the weapons be put down! Let the Easter truce begin,” Pope Francis said.
The pope clarified that he did not wish for Russia and Ukraine to “pick up the combat again” after the religious holiday and said that what is required is “a truce that will lead to peace, through real negotiation, that is even disposed to some sacrifice for the good of the people.”
“I am accompanying you with prayer and I encourage all parties to find a peaceful solution as soon as possible for the good of the country, especially of the poorest, respecting the rights of everyone and of the institutions,” he said.
Speaking on the seventh Sunday of the war, Pope Francis told the 50,000 Romans and pilgrims attending the Palm Sunday celebration in St. Peter’s Square and a global audience of many millions followed by television, radio and social media, that “Nothing is impossible for God. He can even bring an end to a war whose end is not in sight, a war that daily places before our eyes heinous massacres and atrocious cruelty committed against defenseless civilians.”
Pope Francis’ mass on Sunday is the first public liturgy in St. Peter’s Square since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.