‘Shameful’: Pope Francis draws flak over Ukraine should 'raise white flag' comment

The Vatican issued a statement clarifying the Pope’s remarks

Pope Francis Russia-Ukraine war Pope Francis | AP

Pope Francis is being widely criticised for his recent comments on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The Pope in an interview said that Ukraine should have the "courage to raise the white flag" and negotiate an end to the war with Russia. Several politicians and European commentators came to the forefront criticising Pope’s remarks. 

“My Sunday morning take: One must not capitulate in [the] face of evil, one must fight it and defeat it, so that the evil raises the white flag and capitulates," the Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs wrote on X. 

Pope is also being criticised for being silent on Russia’s atrocities against thousands of people since the invasion of Ukraine. 

Dennis Radtke, a German Christian Democrat MEP, said the word “shameful” could be used to describe the pope’s comments. “His stance on Ukraine reflects poorly on his pontificate. It is incomprehensible,” Radtke wrote on X.

Francis made his comments in an interview recorded by Swiss broadcaster RSI in February. The interview was broadcasted on Saturday. 

“I believe that the strongest are those who see the situation, think about the people, and have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate,” said the Pope in the interview.

“That word negotiate is a brave word. When you see that you are defeated, that things are not working out, to have the courage to negotiate," he added. He also said that Ukrainians should not be afraid to negotiate a peace deal before the situation worsens further.

Meanwhile, the Vatican issued a statement clarifying the Pope’s comments. The Vatican’s director of communications, Matteo Bruni, said that Francis had used the term white flag “to indicate a cessation of hostilities, a truce reached with the courage of negotiation”. 

He repeated the pontiff’s call for a “diplomatic solution in search of a just and lasting peace” in what Francis called the “martyred” Ukraine. 

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