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Vatican Confirms Pope’s Apology to Moscow Over Ukraine War Remarks…

Vatican Confirms Pope’s Apology to Moscow Over Ukraine War Remarks…
Pope Francis.

Pope Francis.

Franco Origlia, Getty Images

The Vatican confirmed on Thursday that it had apologised to Russia after Pope Francis made comments singling out the allegedly cruel role of Russian ethnic minorities in the Ukraine conflict.

Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni was asked about Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova saying on Thursday that the Vatican had apologised following the pope’s comments.

“I can now confirm there were diplomatic contacts to that effect,” he said.

Pope Francis had said in an interview in November that some of the “cruellest” actors among Russia’s ranks in Ukraine “are not of the Russian tradition”, but minorities like “the Chechens, the Buryati and so on”.

This drew indignation from Russia, with Zakharova describing the comments as “beyond Russophobia”, and “perversion”.

Maria Zakharova saying on Thursday that the Vatican had apologised following the pope’s comments.

“I can now confirm there were diplomatic contacts to that effect,” he said.

Pope Francis had said in an interview in November that some of the “cruellest” actors among Russia’s ranks in Ukraine “are not of the Russian tradition”, but minorities like “the Chechens, the Buryati and so on”.

This drew indignation from Russia, with Zakharova describing the comments as “beyond Russophobia”, and “perversion”.

Moscow has been accused of drawing disproportionately from ethnic minorities in Siberia and in its Caucasus region to draft men into the war in Ukraine.

Kremlin critics say the minorities from impoverished and isolated regions are dying in larger numbers in Ukraine compared to ethnic Russians.

But they have also been accused in Ukraine of playing outsized roles in places like Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, where UN investigators are investigating allegations that Russian soldiers massacred civilians.

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