Pope says Ukrainians are ‘noble martyrs’ being subjected to ‘monstrosities’ by Russia’s war

Pope Francis has said that Ukrainians are being subjected to savageness, monstrosities and torture, calling them a “noble” people being martyred. He was speaking at the

end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday. His comments came just hours after Russian president Vladimir Putin called for Russians to be mobilised for

the war in Ukraine. Francis, who did not name Russia, told the crowd of a conversation he had on Tuesday with Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, his charity chief who is delivering aid in

Ukraine. Vatican media said Krajewski, who is Polish, had to run and take cover after coming under light gunfire last week while delivering aid with Catholic bishop, a

Protestant bishop, and a Ukrainian soldier. It said he also visited mass graves outside Izyum, in northeast Ukraine. “He (Krajewski) told me of the pain of these people, the

savage acts, the monstrosity, the tortured bodies they find. Let us unite with these people, so noble, and martyred,” he said. Ukrainian officials have said they have found

hundreds of bodies, some with their hands tied behind their backs, buried in territory recaptured from Russian forces, in what President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called proof of war

crimes. Russia has consistently denied its troops have committed war crimes since its troops invaded Ukraine in February. On Monday, the Kremlin rejected allegations of such

abuses in Kharkiv region, where Izium is located, as a “lie”. Of the 111 civilian bodies exhumed by Wednesday, four showed signs of torture, Serhiy Bolvinov, the head of

investigative police in the Kharkiv region, told Reuters at the burial ground.