Pope Francis Rails Against Ukraine Invasion: 'War Is Madness. Please Stop.'

"Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine," Pope tells the faithful at St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis issued an emotional plea for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during his weekly address at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.

“This is not just a military operation, but a war, which sows death, destruction and misery,” said Francis. “The number of victims is increasing, as are the people fleeing, especially mothers and children.”

Since Russia launched its invasion, some 1.5 million people have fled the country, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

In that “martyred country, the need for humanitarian assistance is growing by the hour,” the pontiff said.

The pope pleaded for diplomatic negotiations to end the violence, and called for common sense to prevail. The church also sent two cardinals to Ukraine to help those in need.

“This presence of two cardinals there is the presence not only of the pope but of all the Christian people who want to get closer and say ‘war is madness,’” Francis said.

The pope’s comments were his strongest to date about the war, which he has condemned from the start. The day after Russia launched the invasion, the pope traveled to the Russian embassy to express his concerns.

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