During his weekly address on Sunday, Pope Francis called out the “barbarianism” of killings of children and other residents during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.
“In the name of God, I ask: ‘Stop this massacre,’” Francis told the crowd of worshippers at St.Peters Square, with some of them holding Ukrainian flags.
Pope Francis also said that the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which has been in the center of attacks from Russian forces, “bears the name” of the Virgin Mary and has “become a city martyred by the heartbreaking war that is devastating Ukraine,” according to the AP.
Francis also said in his address that “there are no strategic reasons that hold up” in the face of armed aggression, referencing Russian forces.
Pope Francis also prayed for the end of bombings and other attacks in the region, ensuring that humanitarian corridors “are safe and secure,” the AP reported.
Pope Francis’ remarks come as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a series of international sanctions being leveled against Moscow. U.S. companies in a variety of sectors have also moved to end business with Russia.
In response, Ukrainian citizens are fleeing the country amid the invasion, and many inside and outside Ukraine are seeking to communicate through services that are intended to ensure their privacy.