Pope Francis on Wednesday compared Russia’s war in Ukraine to the “horrific genocide” of the 1930s, when Soviet leader Joseph Stalin engulfed the country in famine. “Today Ukrainians suffer the martyrdom of aggression,” said the head of the Catholic Church.
In his weekly general audience before thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, Francis called the “Holodomor”, the famine that killed millions of Ukrainians.
“This Saturday marks the anniversary of the appalling genocide of the Holodomor, the famine of 1932-1933 engineered by Stalin,” he said.
To explain, the Holodomor was a result of Stalin’s attempts to collectivize agriculture and stamp out the burgeoning Ukrainian national movement.
And added: “Let us pray for the victims of this genocide and for the many Ukrainians – children, women, old people – who today suffer the martyrdom of aggression.”
Pope hopes for peace solution
The pope had repeatedly offered to mediate in the war in Ukraine. A trip to Kiev was also discussed again and again, but so far this plan has failed. Francis confirmed in an interview last week that he still has hopes of a peace solution. “Let’s not give up,” he told the newspaper “La Stampa”.
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