ROME, Italy — Pope Francis expressed his “deep pain for the tragic events” resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a call with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Kyiv’s embassy to the Vatican said Saturday.


“Today Pope Francis had a telephone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Holy Father expressed his deepest pain for the tragic events unfolding in our country,” the embassy wrote on Twitter.

Zelensky also tweeted to thank Francis “for praying for peace in Ukraine and a ceasefire. The Ukrainian people feel the spiritual support of His Holiness”.

Francis made a rare intervention on Friday when he tweeted in several languages, including Russian, to denounce all war as a “shameful capitulation”.

“Every war leaves our world worse than it was before. War is a failure of politics and of humanity,” he said, quoting his encyclical on peace published in 2020.

In another rare act, Francis visited Russia’s embassy to the Vatican on Friday morning to voice his concern on the second day of Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour.

The pope normally never visits foreign diplomatic headquarters and usually receives accredited diplomats at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.