Ukraine crisis

Pope gets into spat over cruelty of Chechens and Buryats in Russian army


The Pope has got into a spat with Russia after calling the Chechens and the Buryats in the Russian army the cruellest.

According to Russian news site Kommersant on Monday, November 28 Pope Francis made the statement whilst commenting on the war in Ukraine in an interview with America magazine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova called the statements by the Pontiff “a perversion of the truth.”

Pope Francis said: “When I talk about Ukraine, I am talking about a people who have been martyred. If you have people who have become martyrs, you have someone who tortures them.

When I talk about Ukraine, I talk about brutality because I have a lot of information about the brutality of the troops being brought in. As a rule, the most cruel, perhaps, are those who are from Russia, but do not adhere to the Russian tradition, such as Chechens, Buryats and so on.”

The Pope has indicated his willingness to visit Kyiv but only if he is to visit Moscow as well, adding that he had repeatedly sent the Russian side lists of Ukrainian prisoners of war. Their response to the exchange offer he said, was always positive.

The Vatican has offered on numerous occasions to mediate following the invasion of Ukraine but so far has had no positive response from either party.  

The Vatican has repeatedly expressed its readiness to mediate in the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. The latest offer came on November 27 by Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.

Some sources say the Kremlin is now ready to discuss Ukraine with the Vatican, but they have yet to accept the offer to mediate.

Whether the comments by the Pope who has got into spat over the cruelty of Chechens and Buryats in the Russian army, will derail any such discussions remains to be seen.

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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at

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  • Hello!

    I am Bouriat, I have lived in France for the last 12 years.

    The Buryats are Buddhists and the Chechens are Muslims. The statements of the Pope concerning the cruelty of these two ethnics groups are dangerous for the fragile peace in our world!

    I hope the restriction of comments for Instagram posts of Pape is preparation to offer the official apologies to the two peoples of Russia! The two peoples who suffered from the cruelty of Russian imperial power during centuries and continue to suffer and literally disappear because of Russian colonial policy.

    The Pope has the right to make mistakes! I, as a member of the indigenous people of Siberia, Buddhist people, understand and believe in him!

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