Pope comments on Western aid to Ukraine

Pope Francis said that it is morally right for countries to supply Ukraine with weapons if it is to help the country defend itself against the Russian military campaign.

“This is a political decision that is morally acceptable, if taken under ethical conditions,” Pope Francis said on September 15, in response to the media question on whether arms aid to Is Ukraine morally correct, on the flight back to the Vatican after a three-day visit to Kazakhstan.

The Pope invoked the Roman Catholic Church’s principle of Just War, which permits the use of commensurate proportions of lethal weapons to defend against an attacking nation. “Self-defense is not only legal but also shows love for the country,” he said.

The Pope explained that arms aid is considered “immoral” if the donor country does so to incite conflict, sell weapons or dispose of weapons they no longer need.





Pope Francis speaks to the media on his flight back to Rome, September 15.  Photo: AFP.

Pope Francis speaks to the media on his flight back to Rome, September 15. Image: AFP.

He also called on Kiev to open dialogue to the end, although this may be “difficult” for Ukraine. “We should always be ready to step forward with an outstretched hand. Because if we don’t, we close the only reasonable door to peace,” the pope said.

Earlier, Pope Francis said that the arms industry could be one of the driving forces leading to war, needing to abandon the good-bad guy mindset when assessing conflicts. He suggested in May that the “anger” at the Kremlin could have been generated by NATO’s intimidation at Russia’s “doors” but dismissed the notion that he supported President Putin. The pope also praised the Ukrainians as a “courageous people” who fought against Moscow’s military campaign.





The US-aided HIMARS rocket launcher was deployed by Ukraine to fight in early July. Photo: Reuters.

The US-aided HIMARS rocket launcher was deployed by Ukraine to fight in early July. Photo: Reuters.

Western countries have provided many weapons to Ukraine since the outbreak of hostilities on February 24. The US is the biggest donor, with $15 billion in security aid. In early September, the White House proposed to allocate an additional $ 11.7 billion in military assistance to Kiev in early 2023.

The Ukrainian military recently launched a lightning counter-attack in the northeastern province of Kharkov, claiming to have regained control of 6,000 square kilometers of territory since early September.

The Kremlin warned on September 14 that Russia would increase the intensity of its military campaign if Ukraine signed a security agreement with the US and the West, citing a document calling on Western countries to provide “political resources”. financial, military and diplomatic” to enhance Ukraine’s self-defence capabilities in the years leading up to NATO’s accession.





The appearance of the Ukrainian battlefield after more than 6 months of fighting.  Graphics: WP.

The appearance of the Ukrainian battlefield after more than 6 months of fighting. Graphics: WP.

Duc Trung (Theo Reuters)

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