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Pope Francis on Sunday (April 18), delivering his address to a live audience for the first time in more than a month, called for an easing of tensions in eastern Ukraine and expressed anxiety over a …More
Pope Francis on Sunday (April 18), delivering his address to a live audience for the first time in more than a month, called for an easing of tensions in eastern Ukraine and expressed anxiety over a military build-up. Tensions between Moscow and Kyiv have been rising amid a build-up of Russian troops along the border and clashes in eastern Ukraine between the army and pro-Russian separatists. "Please! I strongly hope that an increase in tension can be avoided. On the contrary, there is a need for gestures that can promote reciprocal trust and foster reconciliation and peace, both so necessary and so desired," he said. He said he was "following the increase of military activity with anxiety" and decried "multiple violations of a cease fire agreement" in the last few months. "Let us take to heart the grave humanitarian crisis that has hit the people there," he told several hundred people in St. Peter's Square from a window in the Apostolic Palace. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday (April 16) pressed for peace talks with Moscow. It was the first time since March 14 that the blessing and address were delivered from the window instead of being streamed from the papal library. COVID-19 restrictions in Italy were eased after Easter and Francis expressed pleasure at being to address people directly again. "Thank God that we can meet together again in this square. I tell you something - I miss the square. When I have to do the (address) from the library, I am not happy. Thank God and thank you for your presence," he said. Newzee