Russia expresses ‘indignation’ at Pope’s statements

Francis denounced cruelty of Chechens and Buryats in Ukraine

29 november
– 08:22

(updated at 08:34)

Russia’s ambassador to the Vatican, Aleksandr Avdeyev, expressed “indignation” at Pope Francis’ remarks about the “cruelty” of Chechen and Buryat fighters in the war in Ukraine.

Pope Francis during an audience at the Vatican

Pope Francis during an audience at the Vatican

Photo: ANSA / Ansa – Brazil

“I expressed indignation at such insinuations and stressed that nothing can weaken the cohesion and unity of the Russian multinational people,” said the diplomat, according to the Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

The protest was due to an interview given by Jorge Bergoglio to the Jesuit magazine “America”, in which he was asked why he does not usually condemn Russia explicitly when talking about the invasion of Ukraine.

“When I talk about Ukraine, I talk about a martyred people. If there is a martyred people, there is someone who martyrs them. When I talk about Ukraine, I talk about cruelty because I have a lot of information about the cruelty of the invading troops”, said the Pope.

“Generally, the cruelest are perhaps those from Russia, but without Russian tradition, like the Chechens, the Buryats, and so on. Of course, it is the Russian state that invades, that is very clear,” he added.

While the Russians are a Slavic ethnic group, the Chechens form a people of Caucasian origin and with their own language, concentrated mainly in the Chechen Republic, which is led by Ramzan Kadyrov, one of the most radical supporters of Vladimir Putin.

The Buryats are an indigenous people of Siberia and mainly inhabit the Republic of Buryatia, also part of the Russian Federation.

In the same interview in which he criticized the cruelty in the invasion of Ukraine, the Pope said he was available to mediate between Moscow and Kiev and reiterated that he would like to visit the two capitals to negotiate peace.

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