Pope Francis on Saturday implicitly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine during a speech in the Maltese capital Valletta.
Without explicitly mentioning Putin or the war in Ukraine, the pope touched on â€œthe wind blowing from the east of Europe,â€ according to the Vaticanâ€™s news agency Vatican News.
â€œThe icy winds of war, which bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake, have swept down powerfully upon the lives of many people and affected us all,â€ Francis said, adding that â€œonce again, some potentate, sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests, is provoking and fomenting conflicts, whereas ordinary people sense the need to build a future that will either be shared or not be at all.â€
The pope had previously called the war in Ukraine a â€œmassacre,â€ and â€œunacceptable armed aggression,â€ but had never before had such a relatively unconcealed go at Putin.
On Saturday, he used the opportunity during his trip to Malta to depict the island EU member country as an incentive to end all war. â€œMalta, which shines brilliantly in the heart of the Mediterranean, can serve as an inspiration to us, for it is urgent to restore beauty to the face of a humanity marred by war,â€ he said.
Francis deplored the return of animosities across the world and what he perceived as waning enthusiasm for peace, which he said goes along with increased investments in the armaments industry.
â€œIn this way â€¦ not only peace but also so many great questions, like the fight against hunger and inequality are no longer on the list of the main political agendas,â€ he said.
Later on Saturday, the pope set off a series of tweets about migration, including one calling for a broadly shared effort to help those displaced from Ukraine.
â€œThe growing migration emergency â€” here we can think of the refugees from war-torn Ukraine â€”Â calls for a broad-based and shared response,â€ the tweet read. â€œSome countries cannot respond to the entire problem, while others remain indifferent onlookers!â€