Pope Francis said ‘World War III has been declared’ and suggested Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was ‘provoked’ while also taking a new series of swipes at Russia’s actions, a transcript of a conversation he had last month has revealed.
The leader of the Catholic Church denied being ‘pro-Putin,’ saying Russian troops were brutal, cruel and ferocious, while praising the bravery of Ukrainian soldiers who have been fighting for their country’s survival since the invasion began in February.
He also decried Russia’s ‘monstrous’ use of mercenaries from Chechnya and Syria – which have been drafted in by the Kremlin to bolster its faltering war efforts – and criticised the global arms trade.
But in the text of a conversation he had last month with editors of Jesuit media and published on Tuesday, he also said the situation was not black and white and that the war was ‘perhaps in some way provoked’ by NATO.
Francis said the on-going war in Ukraine, along with other conflicts around the globe, means ‘World War III has been declared’ and therefore the human race has seen three world wars in a century. This, he said, is a ‘calamity’ for humanity.
‘We see what is happening now in Ukraine in a certain way because it is closer to us and pricks our sensibilities more,’ the Pope said in his comments last month.
‘But there are other countries far away – think of some parts of Africa, northern Nigeria, northern Congo – where war is ongoing and nobody cares. Think of Rwanda 25 years ago. Think of Myanmar and the Rohingya. The world is at war.
‘A few years ago, it occurred to me to say that we are experiencing a third world war fought piecemeal. Today, for me, World War III has been declared,’ he said according the transcript of the conversation, published in English by Vatican News.
‘This is something that should give us pause for thought. What is happening to humanity that has had three world wars in a century? I experienced the first war through the memory of my grandfather on the Piave River.
‘Then the second and now the third. And this is bad for humanity, a calamity. You have to think that in a century there have been three world wars, with all the arms trade behind it!’ he continued.
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Source: Daily Mail