Ukrainian ambassador criticizes Pope’s comments

Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican criticized the Pope for his reference to the daughter of Russian scholar Dugina, who was killed in a car bomb explosion near Moscow.

Pope Francis on August 24 referred to a car bomb explosion in Moscow on the evening of August 20, which killed Darya Dugina, daughter of the famous Russian scholar Alexander Dugin. “Innocent people pay the price of war. That poor girl was flung into the air when a bomb planted under the car seat exploded in Moscow,” the Pope said.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican Andrii Yurash later took to Twitter to denounce the Pope, calling his comments “disappointing”. “How can the ideologist of Russian imperialism be mentioned as an innocent victim? She was murdered by the Russians themselves,” Ambassador Yurash emphasized.

Pope Francis (left) and Ukraine's Ambassador to the Vatican Andriy Yurash during an audience on April 7.  Photo: Reuters.

Pope Francis (left) and Ukraine’s Ambassador to the Vatican Andriy Yurash during an audience on April 7. Image: Reuters.

The Vatican has not yet responded to Ambassador Yurash’s comments. It is very unusual for foreign ambassadors to the Vatican to publicly criticize the Pope.

In his address on August 24, Pope Francis also called for concrete actions to end the conflict in Ukraine and avert the risk of a nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhzhia power plant. The pope said last month that he wanted to visit Kiev and go to Moscow to promote peace.

Dugina, 30, was killed when the car she was driving exploded on a highway outside Moscow on the evening of August 20. Russian officials said the vehicle was fitted with an explosive device equivalent to 400g of TNT and opened an investigation into the direction of this being a targeted murder.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on August 22 announced the suspect’s identity as Natalya Pavlovna Vovk, a Ukrainian citizen born in 1979, who entered Russia on July 23 with her daughter Shaban Sofia Mikhailovna. Russia accused Ukraine of being behind the incident, but Kiev denied it. An adviser to the President of Ukraine said that the information provided by Moscow was “fictitious and unreasonable”.

Ngoc Anh (Theo Reuters)

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