Pope Francis on Tuesday criticised the threat of nuclear disaster in Ukraine, and lamented that he sees peace 'trampled' in Europe.
The Pope was speaking at an ecumenical event organised by the Sant’Egidio Community, which involved a prayer for peace at the Colosseum in Rome.
In his address to several thousand people, delivered after various religious groups prayed separately, Francis decried today's "bleak scenario, where, sad to say, the plans of potent world leaders make no allowance for the just aspirations of peoples".
Referring to the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the Pope said: "Today, in fact, something we dreaded and hoped never to hear of again is threatened outright: the use of atomic weapons, which even after Hiroshima and Nagasaki continued wrongly to be produced and tested."
Francis also referenced the Cuban missile crisis, recalling how Pope John XXIII delivered a radio message on 25 October 1962, appealing to leaders of the time to bring the world back from the brink.
"Today peace has been gravely violated, assaulted and trampled upon, and this in Europe, on the very continent that in the last century endured the horrors of two world wars," Francis said.