Pope Francis Calls for Prayers for Peace in Ukraine

Angelus Crowd in St. Peter’s Square Prays in Silence

Pope Francis for Prayers
© Vatican Me

Pope Francis today called for prayers for peace in Ukraine, a nation fearing the possibility of a Russian invasion.

The Holy Father’s plea came after praying the noonday Angelus with the large crowd of the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, some of whom likely have friends or family in Ukraine or nearby nations.

“The news from Ukraine is very worrying,” the Holy Father said. “I entrust every effort for peace to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and to the conscience of the political leaders. Let us pray in silence.”

At the Pope’s words, the crowd fell silent, heads bowed and hands clasped in silent prayer.

US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke yesterday (February 12) with President Vladimir Putin of Russia about Russia’s escalating military buildup on the borders of Ukraine. President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our Allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia., according to a statement released by the White House. President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing. President Biden was clear with President Putin that while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our Allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios.

A senior US official said “it remains unclear whether Russia is interested in pursuing its goals diplomatically as opposed to through the use of force.

“We remain committed to keeping the prospect of de-escalation through diplomacy alive.  But we are also clear-eyed about the prospects of that, given the readily apparent steps Russia is taking on the ground in plain sight, right before our eyes.  Stakes — the stakes of this are too high not to give Russia every chance to avoid an action that we believe would be catastrophic.”

Vice-Admiral Nils Andreas Stensønes, the head of the Norwegian intelligence service, said Russia now had 150,000 troops massed around Ukraine, reported Vatican News. That’s more than previous Ukrainian and US estimates.

Colonel Konstantin Sivkov, deputy president of the Kremlin-backed Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences, fears a conflict between Russia and the United States over Ukraine could escalate into nuclear warfare.

That, he said, would be “the path to Armageddon,” referring to the Biblical battle of the end times. He said such a nuclear war would destroy the US and Russia known today, and change the world forever.

With so much at stake, diplomacy continues to overcome what has been called Europe’s biggest security crisis in decades.

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