In an interview with the Jesuit magazine America, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, spoke in detail about his attitude to the war in Ukraine. He responded to accusations that he did not directly name the perpetrators of the war, limiting himself to calls for peace to both sides of the conflict.
According to Francis, when commenting on the war in Ukraine, he does not mention Russian President Vladimir Putin, because the role of the politician is "already known". "Everyone knows my position, with or without Putin," Francis said. He also called the Holodomor a historical precursor to the war in Ukraine, calling those events "Stalin's genocide against Ukrainians."
In the interview, Francis once again said that he considers the Ukrainian people to be martyrs. “If you have people who have become martyrs, you have someone who tortures them. When I talk about Ukraine, I talk about cruelty, because I have a lot of information about the cruelty of the [Russian] troops that entered Ukraine," the pontiff said.
He also said that he believed that Buryats, Chechens and other Russians who "do not follow Russian tradition" tend to be the "brutalest" in the Russian army in Ukraine.
The head of Buryatia Oleksiy Tsydenov reacted to this statement in his Telegram channel and the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Maria Zakharova. Tsydenov said that he was "surprised" to hear from the head of the church about the cruelty of specific nationalities. "History knows many examples of the destruction of cities, countries and even nations by those who consider themselves representatives of civilized nations," the official wrote.
Zakharova said that the words of Francis "are a perversion." "Remember, in the 1990s - the beginning of the 2000s, we were told exactly the opposite, that it is the Russians, the Slavs, who are tormenting the peoples of the Caucasus, and now we are told that it is the peoples of the Caucasus who are tormenting the Russians. These must be perverts of the truth," TARS quoted her as saying.