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Pope Francis: 'Racist' West more welcoming to Ukrainian refugees

Pope Francis leads the Good Friday Passion of the Lord service at the Vatican on Friday. (Reuters)

Pope Francis says racism is behind the fact that many Western countries have been more welcoming to Ukrainian refugees than to those from other parts of the world.

Speaking on Italian television station RAI on Friday, the head of the Catholic Church said that kind of treatment evidently proved that "we are racists."

The pontiff stressed that the West also segregates the refugees based on their source of origin.

"The refugees are divided. First-class, second class, by skin color, whether you come from a developed country or a non-developed one," the head of the Catholic Church told RAI.

"We are racists...and that's bad," he added. “There has also been anger over alleged discrimination against African residents of Ukraine at the borders.” 

The head of the sovereign state of Vatican City also emphasized that although every independent country has the right to defend its security status, it is imperative that they avoid the "general abandonment" of peace.

"We live according to an idea where we kill each other because of the need for power, for security, for many things," the Pope said. He added that he understands the concern of the governments "that buy weapons" but he "doesn't approve of it."

While reporting on the Ukraine crisis, Western media have used "shocking terms" to describe Ukrainian refugees who flee their home during the conflict.

On BBC News, Ukraine’s deputy chief prosecutor David Sakvarelidze said he was very emotional seeing “European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed every day”.

On CBS News, foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata while reporting from Kiev said, “This is a relatively civilized and European city where you wouldn’t expect or hope that it is going to happen.”

He also said this wasn't "Iraq or Afghanistan" – countries that have been suffering endless conflict. D'Agata later apologized in a broadcast.

Putting it "bluntly" was an NBC News correspondent, who said, "These are not refugees from Syria, these are refugees from neighboring Ukraine...these are Christians, they are white, they are similar to people that live in Poland."

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