In letter to Shevchuk, Pope decries latest missile attacks on Ukraine

Pope Francis sends a letter to the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in which he strongly condemns the “ignoble” and “unacceptable” Russian missile attacks against the civilian population and vital infrastructure of the country.

Vatican News

The war operations that have “struck the civilian population and vital infrastructure within the country are ignoble, unacceptable and cannot be justified in any way”. Pope Francis wrote these words in a letter, dated 3 January, to Major  Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who in turn had written to the Pope at the end of the year to inform him of the consequences of the massive missile attack that Russia launched on 29 December. The news of the letter was released by the secretariat of the Major Archbishop.

“Once again,” wrote the Pope, “through you, I wish to express my closeness to the martyred Ukraine, mourn the dead and entrust them to God’s mercy, comfort the wounded and embrace all those who are suffering in any way. I am close to the Pastors who are trying to give hope to the people ‘in a situation that appears increasingly desperate'”.

Pope Francis added that he was sorry that, “in an increasingly dramatic international context, the one in Ukraine risks becoming a ‘forgotten’ war. It is our duty, instead, not to allow silence to fall over it, not simply to keep alive the horror in the face of such tragic facts, but above all to commit all those who have responsibility and the international community to the search for peaceful solutions”, he said.

The Pope concluded his letter to Major Archbishop Shevchuk by stating that he takes every opportunity to remember the conflict and the suffering.

He then quoted his words of his General Audience on 3 January, during which he said, “War is madness, war is always a defeat. Let us pray. Let us pray for the people in Palestine, in Israel, in Ukraine and in so many places where there is war.”

Finally, Pope Francis assured the Ukrainian archbishop that he would continue to make “vibrant appeals that the din of arms cease in Ukraine and that paths to a just peace be set in motion”.