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Pope's remarks on ethnic minority soldiers in Ukraine arouse Russian outrage

Max Civili
Press TV, Rome

A chill has fallen on relations between Moscow and the Vatican City. The rift has been sparked by an interview published in a US magazine on Monday in which the head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis condemned the cruelty of some minority groups of soldiers namely the Chechens and the Siberian Buryats in the Ukraine's conflict. On Tuesday Moscow's ambassador to the Vatican Alexander Avdeev lodged an official complaint in response.

Pope Francis' remarks were made during an interview with America, a Jesuit magazine headquartered in New York. When asked about his apparent reluctance to directly condemn Russia for the war in Ukraine, the Pontiff in response, said he received much information about the cruelty of the troops.

The Russian Ambassador to the Holy See Avdeev expressed anger at the Pontiff's insinuations of alleged atrocities by the Russian military during the course of the special military operation in Ukraine. The ambassador also stressed that nothing can shake the cohesion and unity of the multinational Russian people. The Russian foreign ministry also dismissed Pope Franci's comments.

Earlier this week, Moscow had welcomed the Vatican's announcement of mediation to bring an end to the Russian-Ukrainian War. Some fear, that this could no longer be viable after this diplomatic incident.

On Sunday, top Vatican diplomat Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher had said the Holy See and Pope Francis are ready to provide space for peace negotiations on Ukraine. However after the announcement Moscow said Kiev is against any peace talks.

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