SPONSORED:

Pope calls for easing of tensions between Russia and Ukraine

Pope calls for easing of tensions between Russia and Ukraine
© Getty Images

Pope FrancisPope FrancisPriests across Germany bless gay couples in break from Pope The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture Pope Francis denounces 'aggressive' nationalism MORE on Sunday called for the easing of tensions between Russia and Ukraine, following reports that Russia increased its military presence in the Black Sea.

Francis, in remarks to the public assembled in St. Peter’s Square, said he was following with “deep concern the events in several areas of eastern Ukraine, where in recent months violations of the cease-fire have multiplied, and I observe with great apprehension the increase of military activities," according to The Associated Press.

He said he hopes “tensions may be avoided,” and that “reconciliation and peace” can be fostered.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Please, I strongly hope that an increase of tensions is avoided, and, on the contrary, gestures are made capable of promoting reciprocal trust and favoring the reconciliation and the peace which are so necessary and so desired,” Francis said.

“May we also keep at heart the grave humanitarian situation being experienced by that population, to whom I express my closeness and for whom I invite you to pray,” Francis added.

These comments come after Reuters reported on Saturday that Russia increased its military presence in the Black Sea, sending two warships and 15 smaller ships to the area amid tensions with Ukraine.

Russia has added to its military presence along its border with Ukraine in recent weeks, as fighting has increased in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian separatists.

The Biden administration on Thursday announced sanctions against Russia for its involvement in the SolarWinds hack, foreign influence operations around U.S. elections and other concerns. The U.S. government also expelled 10 Russian diplomats.

Moscow responded to the measures on Friday, requesting that 10 U.S. diplomats leave the country.