Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine Visvaldas Kulbokas was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs due to the statement made by Pope Francis during the general audience on 24 August, Ukraine’s Independence Day and the day that marked exactly six months since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale armed invasion of Ukraine.
Kulbokas was told that Ukraine is deeply disappointed by the Pope’s words, which unfairly equates the aggressor and the victim. At the same time, the decision of Pope Francis to mention in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian war the death of Russian citizen Daria Dugina, with whom Ukraine has nothing to do, in the territory of Russia causes misunderstanding.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine drew the attention of the Apostolic Nuncio to the fact that since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Pope has never paid special attention to the specific victims of the war, including 376 Ukrainian children, killed by the Russian occupiers.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expressed the hope that in the future, the Holy See will avoid unfair statements that disappoint Ukrainian society.
As a reminder, during the general audience on Ukraine’s Independence Day on 24 August, Pope Francis mentioned in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian war the death of Daria Dugin, the daughter of Alexander Dugin, one of the “Russian world” ideologues, calling her an “innocent victim of the war.”
Ambassador of Ukraine to the Vatican Andrii Yurash criticised the statement. “How is it possible to mention one of the ideologists of Russian imperialism as an innocent victim? She was killed by Russians as a sacred victim and is now on a shield of war,” the Ambassador said.