Europe

Pope: Ukraine crisis causes ‘pain in my heart’

Pope Francis on Wednesday said that the conflict in Ukraine has caused “great pain in my heart,” adding that he is worried about the threat to peace.

“I have great pain in my heart because of the worsening of the situation in Ukraine,” Francis said, according to Reuters.

“I appeal to all sides to abstain from any action that could provoke more suffering to the populations, destabilizing coexistence among nations and discrediting international law,” he added.

Francis’s comments, which were made during his weekly general audience, come as tensions swell after Russian troops entered two separatist territories in eastern Ukraine.

The European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan the United States and Great Britain have all announced plans to issue sanctions against Russia for its actions. Germany also moved to halt a gas pipeline project with Russia.

The pope said that this year’s Ash Wednesday, which falls on March 2, will be an international day for prayer, fasting and peace. He also denounced the “diabolic senselessness of violence,” Reuters noted.

“Jesus taught us that we should respond to the diabolic senselessness of violence with the weapons of God, with prayer and fasting,” Francis added.

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