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Pope Francis appeals to Putin: Stop the spiral of violence and death!

Pope Francis appeals to Putin: Stop the spiral of violence and death!

Pope Francis has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine.

"My appeal goes first to the president of the Russian Federation, begging him (Putin) to stop, for the sake of his people, this spiral of violence and death," Pope Francis said. "On the other hand, saddened by the great suffering of the Ukrainian people after the aggression, I appeal to the president of Ukraine to be open to serious peace proposals," the Pope added.

The leader of the Catholic Church also condemned the growing risk of a nuclear war: "I feel great regret for the serious situation that has been created in recent days, with further actions that contradict the principles of international law and that increase the risk of a nuclear escalation to the point of fearing uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences for the entire world," he said.

The Pope's statements, made today during public prayers in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, are among the strongest he has made since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The Pope's comments come after Putin threatened the West over the use of nuclear weapons, even saying he was not bluffing.