Pope Francis condemned the killings in Bucha, Ukraine, on Wednesday, kissing the Ukrainian flag in a show of support for the European country.
Driving the news: Pope Francis spoke out against “the massacre of Bucha” and kissed a Ukrainian flag sent to him from Bucha “where tied bodies shot at close range littered the streets after Russian troops withdrew and bodies poked out of a mass grave at a church,” according to Reuters.
What he said: “Recent news from the war in Ukraine, instead of bringing relief and hope, brought new atrocities, such as the massacre of Bucha,” Francis said, per Reuters.
- “Stop this war! Let the weapons fall silent! Stop sowing death and destruction,” he said.
Catch up quick: Multiple images and reports of the atrocities in Bucha first surfaced over the weekend.
- Photos showed civilians dead in the streets of the city, some with their arms tied behind their backs, per Axios.
- The Russian defense ministry rejected the reports, though.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has claimed that the bodies were staged.
The bigger picture: The Bucha killings have sparked a global outcry over the last few days.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned the recent atrocities in Bucha are only the beginning and more horrific acts will happen if Russia isn’t stopped.
- President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a war criminal” and called for a war crimes investigation into Putin for the Bucha atrocities.
- The European Union and the United States planned to add new sanctions against Russia in response.