In an interview with America magazine last week, Pope Francis was asked why he was reluctant to directly condemn Putin for the war in Ukraine.
He responded simply: “Everyone knows my stance, with Putin or without Putin, without naming him.”
“Sometimes I try not to specify so as not to offend and rather condemn in general, although it is well known whom I am condemning. It is not necessary that I put a name and surname.”
Pope Francis explained he has received “much information about the cruelty of the troops” and affirmed that “the one who invades is the Russian state.”
He said “generally, the cruelest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryats and so on.”
After the interview, Pope Francis was accused of Russophobia by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
“This is no longer Russophobia, it’s a perversion on a level I can’t even name.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov further called him “un-Christian” and says “this doesn’t help the cause and the authority of the Holy See.”
“Pope Francis calls for talks but also recently made an incomprehensible statement, completely un-Christian, singling out two Russian nationalities into some category from which atrocities can be expected during hostilities.”
Days after Pope Francis interview, the Vatican was hit by a suspected cyber attack.
Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said there were “abnormal access attempts” and “technical investigations are ongoing” into them.
Pray for peace in Ukraine!