Vatican apologizes to Moscow after Pope’s remarks

The Vatican confirmed on Thursday that an apology has been made to Russia after comments by Pope Francis on the alleged cruel behavior of Russian ethnic minorities in the conflict in Ukraine.

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Asked about a statement by the spokesperson for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova, who affirmed on Thursday that the Vatican had apologized after these remarks by the pope, the director of the Vatican press service, Matteo Bruni, indicated: “to At the moment I can confirm that there have been diplomatic contacts in this direction”.

Pope Francis said in an interview at the end of November that some of the “most cruel” fighters in the Russian offensive in Ukraine “are not of Russian tradition”, but belong to minorities such as “Chechens, Buryats”, in reference to the indigenous peoples of these Russian regions.

These remarks provoked furious reactions in Russia, Ms. Zakharova, writing on Telegram: “It is not even Russophobia anymore, it is perversion”.

Russia was accused in September of disproportionately mobilizing ethnic minority men from Siberia and the Caucasus to support its offensive in Ukraine.

According to Kremlin critics, minorities concentrated in poor and remote Russian regions also have more soldiers killed at the front in Ukraine, compared to ethnic Russians.

But these minorities have also been accused of playing a role in atrocities attributed by Kyiv to Russian forces, such as the Boutcha massacre.

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