Foreign Ministry: It's a shame that the Pope's words reflect Russia's great-power ideas
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed regret that Pope Francis is spreading Russian great-power ideas which the Kremlin uses to justify the killing of Ukrainians.
Source: Oleh Nikolenko, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, in a comment on Monday; European Pravda
Details: The quote cited by Nikolenko that drew criticism from the ministry was taken from Pope Francis' speech to participants of the Tenth All-Russian Catholic Youth Day in St Petersburg on 25 August.
"Never forget your heritage. You are the descendants of great Russia: the great Russia of saints and leaders, the great Russia of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, that empire – a great, enlightened country of great culture and great humanity. Never give up this heritage. You are the descendants of the great Mother Russia, so go forward with it. And thank you – thank you for your way of being, for your way of being Russians," Nikolenko quoted Francis as saying.
Interestingly, Vatican News, the information portal of the Holy See, has posted the text of the Pope's address on its website, but this particular passage is missing. However, a video of part of the Pope's address containing this quote is available online.
Nikolenko noted that "it is with this kind of imperialist propaganda, 'spiritual bonds' and the 'need' to save 'Great Mother Russia' that the Kremlin justifies the murders of thousands of Ukrainians and the destruction of hundreds of Ukrainian towns and villages.
It is very unfortunate that Russian great-power ideas, which are in fact the cause of Russia's chronic aggressiveness, are consciously or unconsciously coming from the mouth of the Pope, whose mission, in our understanding, is to open the eyes of Russian young people to the destructive course of the current Russian leadership."
Earlier, in July, Pope Francis called on Russia to resume the Black Sea Grain Initiative, addressing "his brothers, the authorities of the Russian Federation".