Pope Francis condemns ‘barbaric attack’ on Ukraine mall

Ukraine War A photograph taken on June 28, 2022 shows charred goods in a grocery store of the destroyed Amstor mall in Kremenchuk, one day after it was hit by a Russian missile strike according to Ukrainian authorities. | Photo by Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis condemned an attack on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, as “barbaric,” during a public address on Wednesday.

“I carry in my heart every day the dear and tormented Ukraine, which continues to be plagued by barbaric attacks, such as the one that struck the Kremenchuk shopping center,” the pope said on June 29.

A Russian missile strike hit a shopping mall in Kremenchuk on June 27. Ukrainian authorities said the next day that at least 18 people were killed in the attack and another 36 were missing.

“I pray that this foolish war may soon see an end, and I renew the invitation to persevere, without tiring, in the prayer for peace: may the Lord open those paths of dialogue that men are unwilling or unable to find,” he said. “And let us not neglect to come to the aid of the Ukrainian people, who are suffering so much.”

Francis spoke about Ukraine after praying the Angelus in honor of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.  

Pope Francis during his appearance for the Angelus in Rome on June 29, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis during his appearance for the Angelus in Rome on June 29, 2022. Vatican Media

The pope addressed an estimated 15,000 people from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, according to the Vatican. During the Angelus and his remarks afterward, he sometimes placed his right hand on the windowsill and leaned his weight on his right arm.

The 85-year-old pope, who has an injury in his right knee, has used a wheelchair for many of his public audiences for almost two months. He has recently walked short distances with the support of a cane.

Pope Francis extended his best wishes to Romans and those staying in Rome on the feast of Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the capital city of Italy. He said he hopes “that all may find in [Rome] a decent welcome worthy of its beauty.”

He also lamented the recent outbreak of fires in Rome, affected by record-high temperatures and drought across Italy.

“All this should make us reflect on the protection of creation, which is our responsibility,” he said. “It is not a fad, it is a responsibility: the future of the earth is in our hands and with our decisions.”

Temperatures reached over 104 degrees Fahrenheit across most of Italy on June 28, and Rome tied its highest heat on record.

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