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Ukrainian soldiers keep watch on the frontline between themselves and Russian-backed separatists Ukrainian soldiers keep watch on the frontline between themselves and Russian-backed separatists  (AFP or licensors)

Pope on Ukraine: Resolve tensions with dialogue, not arms

Pope Francis prays that this Christmas might bring peace to Ukraine, and calls on the international community to resolve tensions through dialogue.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Pope Francis prayed for “beloved Ukraine,” for its churches, religious communities, and people, in remarks at the conclusion of the Angelus on Sunday.

The Holy Father urged the international community to resolve tensions in Ukraine through "serious" dialogue “and not with arms,” saying he was saddened to hear that in the past year, more weapons had been produced by arms dealers than the year before. “Arms are not the way,” he said, before adding his hope that this Christmas “might bring Ukraine peace.”

Russian troops massing at border

Ukraine has accused Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops along their common border in preparation for a possible large-scale military offensive. Russia has denied planning an attack, and claims it needs security guarantees for its own.

Western nations warn of consequences

Internationally, finance ministers from the so-called “Group of Seven” richest democracies on Saturday warned of dire economic consequences for any attack by Russia on Ukraine, and called for Moscow to return to the negotiating table.

Also on Saturday, United States President Joe Biden said he told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would pay "a terrible price" and face devastating economic consequences if it invaded Ukraine. “I made it absolutely clear to President Putin … that if he moves on Ukraine, the economic consequences for his economy are going to be devastating, devastating,” he said.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

12 December 2021, 12:40