Pope Francis said this in an interview published On Tuesday he called for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine, comparing the extent of the bloodshed with the Rwandan genocide.
The pontiff told Corriere della Sera that he had sent a message to Putin about 20 days after the start of the conflict saying that “I was willing to go to Moscow”.
“We have not yet received an answer and we are still insisting, although I fear that Putin cannot, and does not want to, have this meeting right now,” Francis said.
“But how is it possible not to stop such brutality? Twenty-five years ago, we experienced the same thing with Rwanda, ”she said.
About 800,000 people were killed between April and July 1994 when the extremist Hutu regime tried to wipe out Rwanda’s Tutsi minority in one of the largest massacres of the 20th century.
The pope has repeatedly called for peace in Ukraine and denounced a “cruel and senseless war” without mentioning Putin or Moscow by name.
“I’m not going to Kiev for now. I feel like I shouldn’t go. First I have to go to Moscow, first I have to meet Putin, “she said.
Francis also said that the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a close ally of Putin, “cannot become Putin’s altar boy”.
Dialogue with the Orthodox Church, which separated from the Catholic Church in 1054, is a priority of Francis’ pontificate.
But since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the pope’s appeals for peace have run counter to Kirill’s defense of Putin’s struggle against Russia’s “external and internal enemies”.
– knee pain –
In the interview, the pope also addressed the pain in his knee that forced him to cancel various public commitments in recent months.
“I have a torn ligament, I’m going to have an infiltration surgery and we’ll see,” he said.
The Vatican did not want to say what the pope was injected with or when, but a source told AFP that the ligament problem was related to chronic right knee arthritis.
Infiltration can involve injecting drugs directly into inflamed or damaged joints and has an immediate effect.
“I’ve been like this for a while, I can’t walk,” Francesco told Corriere della Sera.
“Once upon a time popes were carried on gestatorial chairs,” he said, referring to the ancient ceremonial shoulder-borne throne on which popes were carried aloft until 1978.
It seemed to rule out reviving the throne.
“A little bit of pain, of humility, is needed,” he said.
Francis told a newspaper in Argentina in April that he was treating the torn ligament by putting ice on it and taking painkillers.