Pope Francis on potential conflict in Ukraine: 'War is insane'

Pope Francis sits as he celebrates mass with members of religious institutions on the occasion of the World Day of Consecrated Life on February 2.
Pope Francis sits as he celebrates mass with members of religious institutions on the occasion of the World Day of Consecrated Life on February 2. Copyright Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
By Joshua Berlinger
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The Pope, in his general audience Wednesday, prayed that the "threats of war be overcome through serious dialogue."

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Pope Francis said he hopes that the diplomatic process will help avoid armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine because "war is insane."

During his general audience Wednesday, the Pope thanked people for participating last month in a day of "prayer for peace" due to the rising tensions in Eastern Europe.

Francis also thanked diplomats from Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France, the countries participating in the so-called "Normandy Format" diplomatic process, for their efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement.

"Let us continue to implore the God of peace that tensions and threats of war be overcome through serious dialogue, and that the 'Normandy Format' talks may also contribute to this," he said.

Europe has been bracing for the possibility of conflict since late last year when Russia amassed an estimated 100,000 troops on its shared border with Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly denied it is planning to invade. 

Additional Russian forces have been deployed to Belarus in recent days, ostensibly for military exercises. But Western officials are concerned that those deployments could be used by the Kremlin for an invasion.

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