The Roman church leader condemned the Russian president's religious defense of the unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
Italian Archbishop Bruno Forte on Sunday blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin for his military attack on Ukraine. The archbishop decried Putin's religious defense of his unprovoked attack on Ukraine, calling it a "sacrilegious act."
"Putin no longer manages to find arguments to excuse the disaster he has caused," Archbishop Forte argued in a conversation with the Italian daily "La Stampa," Breitbart reported. "His was a sacrilegious act, an instrumentalization of the gospel in an attempt to justify himself."
CBN News reported on Friday that Putin held a rally at the Luzhniki stadium, where he celebrated the eighth anniversary of Russia capturing Crimea from Ukraine. During the event, which was attended by 200,000 people, the Russian leader praised the Russian troops and paraphrased the Bible by saying, "We have not had unity like this for a long time. There is no greater love than giving up one's soul for one's friends."
The report said that Putin's quoting of the Bible and an 18th-century Russian admiral is just another of his tactics to use religious and history to get Russians behind him on his war against Ukraine, which has displaced almost three million people, causing a refugee crisis in Europe and an economic crisis in Russia and the rest of the world.
This did not sit well with Archbishop Forte, who argued that the Russian president's attempt to use the Bible as justification for his needless war actually "shows Putin's profound weakness since he cannot find any more arguments in support of his propaganda."
The Italian Archbishop argued further that the death of so so many "innocent victims," especially children, "cannot be legitimized with words from the gospel." He added that Putin " adds to the very grave guilt with which he is staining himself that of a true blasphemy: naming God to justify the evil done is the apex of immorality and madness."
Archbishop Forte further likened Putin's war as those that occurred "in eras of barbarous violence, in the darkest of the Middle Ages." He said that the unprovoked attack of Russian troops on Ukraine exemplified "the imperialistic logic of a leader who at all costs wants to subjugate others."
As Russia's invasion of Ukraine nears its 30-day mark, Russian leaders has demanded Ukrainian forces in the port city of Mariupol to surrender in exchange for safe passage outside town, Al Jazeera reported. Ukrainian leaders in Kyiv, however, rejected Moscow's demands.
Russian Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev stated their demands on Sunday, saying that they would allow two humanitarian corridors heading east towards Russia and west to other parts of Ukraine and gave Mariupol until 5:00 a.m. local time to respond to their demands because a "terrible humanitarian catastrophe has developed," leaving many civilians without access to basic needs such as food and water.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk, however, rejected Moscow's demands. She told the news outlet Ukrainska Pravda, There can be no question of any surrender, laying down of arms. We have already informed the Russian side about this. I wrote: 'Instead of wasting time on eight pages of letters, just open the corridor.'"
About 2,300 people have already died in Mariupol, a city which has been heavily assaulted by Russian troops since February 24. Vereshchuk confirmed that over 7,000 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Sunday, more than half of which have come from Mariupol.