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Aftermath of Russian missile strike on Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis has expressed “great sorrow” at the news about attacks on two medical centres in Kyiv, including the largest Ukrainian children’s hospital, as well as a school in Gaza. Source: Vatican News.

According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office on Tuesday, Pope Francis has conveyed his deep distress over the increasing violence.

“While expressing his closeness to the victims and innocent wounded,” the statement said, “he hopes and prays that concrete paths may soon be identified to bring an end to the ongoing conflicts.”

Pope Francis has tirelessly appealed for peace and negotiated solutions to the wars in Ukraine and in Gaza, as well as sending Vatican envoys to both territories with humanitarian aid and messages of closeness and concern.

The statement on Tuesday came in the wake of Russian strikes in cities across Ukraine, on Monday that killed scores of people and hit a children’s hospital in Kyiv. 

According to the apostolic nuncio in Ukraine, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas. who spoke to Vatican Radio shortly after the strike, the dialysis ward of the pediatric hospital was hit. He expressed shock at the strike on the area where there are no military targets, just the nunciature, the hospital and some homes and shops.

What’s most shocking, he said, in this case, those who were struck were not only children, “but children who need oncological care or liver transplants or other organ transplants”.

When missiles target “the smallest of the smallest, the weakest of the weak,” he added, each one of us asks why. “Why does someone continue to provide explanations for the war as if it could be justified for some reason? I do not know how these consciences can continue to do so.”

On Sunday morning, meanwhile, a raid launched by Israeli forces against the Latin Patriarchate’s Holy Family School in Gaza City reportedly killed four people and destroyed parts of the school where a number of Palestinian families were sheltering.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem which runs the school, issued a statement condemning “in the strongest terms,” the targeting of non-combatants, “or any belligerent actions that fall short of ensuring that civilians remain outside the combat scene.”

That raid came only hours after Israeli forces attacked a UN-run school Saturday, killing at least 16 people and injuring 75 sheltered there, according to Gaza authorities, including two UNRWA workers.


Pope distressed by increasing violence in Ukraine and Gaza (Vatican News)