Pope Francis calls for an international day of prayer for peace for Ukraine

24 January, 11:22 PM
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis (Photo:Alessandro Di Meo/Pool via REUTERS)

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis (Photo:Alessandro Di Meo/Pool via REUTERS)

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, during his Sunday Address to pilgrims and visitors to the Vatican on Jan. 24 called for a day of prayers for peace for Ukraine.

According to Vatican News, the pontiff expressed his concern over the rising tensions over Ukraine.

“I’m concerned as I watch the rising tensions, which could inflict a new blow to peace in Ukraine and endanger security in Europe,” the Pope said.

Francis called for the day of prayer for peace on Jan. 26, so that political talks may focus on “human brotherhood, and not on the private interests of the parties.”

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“Those who pursue their own goals to the detriment of others show contempt for their own human nature, because we have all been created as brothers and sisters,” he added.

Since the end of Oct. 2021, Russia has been massing troops to the Ukrainian borders. Russia has deployed more than 127,000 troops and large stocks of offensive weapons near the borders of Ukraine and on temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine provided to CNN this week.

The Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine predicted that Russian mobilization would reach its peak towards the end of January.

While Russia has denied plans to invade, it has also refused to provide assurances that it would not do so, instead demanding that it be provided with so-called “security guarantees” by the United States and NATO.

The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both U.S. and EU officials. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from a potential attack on Ukraine.

Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”

Proposed measures include cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system, personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, and a ban on U.S. dollar transactions with Russia.

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