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Pope tells countries not to 'play games' with Ukraine on military aid

by Abbey Fenbert September 24, 2023 6:23 AM 2 min read
Pope Francis speaks with journalists aboard the papal plane as he returns to Rome on September 23, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis said that nations should not "play games" with Ukraine on the matter of military aid, Reuters reported on Sept. 23.

The pope spoke to reporters about his "frustrations" with the war and the arms industry aboard the papal plane while returning to the Vatican from a visit to France.

"It seems to me that the interests in this war are not just those related to the Ukrainian-Russian problem but to the sale of weapons, the commerce of weapons," Pope Francis said.

The pope compared walking back promises of weapons and aid to playing a game.

"We should not play games with the martyrdom of this people," he said.

Pope Francis did not mention any countries by name. Conservative factions in the United States have pressured the government to limit aid deliveries to Ukraine, while Poland recently announced it would curtail weapons transfers in order to focus on its own arsenal.

"I see now that some countries are moving backwards, not wanting to give [Ukraine] arms. A process is starting in which the martyr certainly will be the Ukrainian people and that is an ugly thing," the pope said.

Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni expanded on the pope's comments when asked for clarification.

"It was a reflection on the consequences of the arms industry...those who traffic in weapons never pay the consequences of their choices but leave them to be paid by people, like the Ukrainians, who have been martyred," Bruni said.

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