Pope Francis Believes that Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine was “Perhaps Provoked”

During an interview published on June 14, 2022, Pope Francis stated that Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine was “perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented.”  The pope’s statements provoked international outrage due to the conventional wisdom that Russia is 100% at fault and Ukraine was a perfectly innocent bystander in the lead up to this conflict. 

The pope made these comments during an interview with La Civiltà Cattolica, which took place in the middle of May but was published on June 14.

“Someone may say to me at this point: but you are pro-Putin! No, I am not,” Francis stated. “It would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing. I am simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good guys and bad guys, without reasoning about roots and interests, which are very complex.”

In addition, the pope mentioned a conversation he had with an unnamed head of state before the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. He described this head of state as a “wise man” who told the pope he was worried about the security dilemma that NATO and Russia were involved in.

According to the pope, the unnamed leader said, “They are barking at the gates of Russia. The situation could lead to war.” The pope added, “That head of state was able to read the signs of what was happening.”

The pope was not parroting a purely pro-Russian narrative, however. The pope was critical of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, and alluded to the “brutality and ferocity” of Russian military forces, and stressed “the heroism of the Ukrainian people.”

The pope’s latest comments came a month following an interview he did with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera where he said that NATO may have “perhaps facilitated” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by “barking” at Russia’s door.

While the pope is flimsy on issues like mass migration, he is on to something about the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. Since the Maidan Revolution of 2014, Ukraine has turned into a de facto NATO proxy, with the United States and its allies providing Ukrainian forces with intelligence and military aid to help retake the breakaway republics of Lugansk and Donetsk, while also constructing an anti-Russia project on a nuclear power’s doorstep. 

At that point, a conflict became inevitable. 

That’s the harsh world of geopolitics — a field most policy “experts” in DC don’t grasp. 

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