Pope appeals for peace in Ukraine

Pope Francis appealed for an end to fighting in Ukraine on Wednesday, a day after the former Soviet republic saw its worst violence since gaining independence, Reuters reports.

Francis told pilgrims and tourists at his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square that he was following events in Kiev with “a worried spirit” and that he was praying for the victims of violence, their families and the injured.

“I invite all sides to cease every violent action and seek concord and peace in the country,” he said, adding that he wanted to assure the people of Ukraine of his closeness to them at this time.

The Ukraine Health Ministry said 25 people had been killed in the fighting in the capital between police and government opponents. Nine of the dead were police officers.

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