Pope Francis has complained about countries “pulling back” from giving weapons to Ukraine in an apparent rebuke of the Polish government.
The Pontiff suggested that some countries were “playing games” with Ukraine by first providing weapons and then apparently backing out of their commitments.
The Pope told journalists on Saturday night: “I’ve seen now that some countries are pulling back, and aren’t giving weapons. This will start a process where the martyrdom is the Ukrainian people, certainly. And this is bad.”
“We cannot play with the martyrdom of the Ukrainian people,” he added. “We have to help resolve things in ways that are possible.”
It was thought to be a reference to the announcement by Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, that Poland was no longer sending arms to Ukraine as part of a trade dispute. Poland had decided last week to extend a ban on Ukrainian grain imports, shaking Kyiv’s relationship with a neighbour that has been one of its staunchest allies.
When asked about the Pope’s comments, Matteo Bruni, the Vatican spokesman, said they were not directed at any particular government.
“[It was a] reflection on the consequences of the arms industry: the Pope, with a paradox, was saying that those who traffic in weapons never pay the consequences of their choices but leave them to be paid by people, like the Ukrainians, who have been martyred,” he said.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, stopped off in Poland on the way back from his visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, but did not meet with any officials here.
Instead, he handed state awards to Bianka Zalewska, a journalist who helped transport wounded children to Polish hospitals, and Damian Duda, who gathered a medical team to help wounded soldiers near the front line.
05:00 PM BST
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04:42 PM BST
Pictured: A 90-year-old woman displaced from Kharkiv cares for her garden
04:24 PM BST
Watch: Russian soldiers don’t want to continue fighting Ukraine | Life on the frontline
04:02 PM BST
Ukrainian drone strike hits 'FSB office' in Kursk
A Ukrainian drone has reportedly struck an office of Russia’s FSB security services in the city of Kursk.
Video footage showed smoke rising from a building in the central district of the city.
Roman Starovoit, the regional governor, said the roof of an administrative building was only slightly damaged in the attack.
But a source in Ukrainian military intelligence told RBC Ukraine it was a “direct hit” on an FSB office.
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Shapps: UK support to Kyiv 'watertight'
The UK’s support to Ukraine is “watertight,” Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, has said.
Mr Shapps promised that the UK would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Kyiv, and insisted that it is “in the world’s interest to ensure that Ukraine remains a democratic nation.”
He made the comments when asked what the UK would do if a Republican President was elected who chose to pull US support for Ukraine.
He told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: “That’s a while down the line before we see what happens in the Republican election, but we will carry on standing shoulder to shoulder with our friends in Ukraine.”
03:04 PM BST
Government shutdown will not affect US aid to Ukraine, Pentagon announces
US aid to Ukraine will continue even if the government is forced to shut down next weekend over a spending row in Congress, the Pentagon has announced.
The Department of Defense said its budget for weapons and humanitarian aid for Ukraine had been ringfenced as part of a contingency plan to keep “essential” parts of Joe Biden’s administration afloat.
Much of the federal government could be forced to close temporarily next weekend if Republicans in the House of Representatives refuse to authorise a short-term spending resolution.
Read more from Tony Diver here
02:26 PM BST
Explosions reported in Sevastopol
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) September 24, 2023
01:59 PM BST
Pictured: Elderly people displaced from war-torn cities across Ukraine play chess
01:47 PM BST
Pope says countries should not "play games" with Ukraine on arms aid
Pope Francis suggested on Saturday that some countries were “playing games” with Ukraine by first providing weapons and then considering backing out of their commitments.
He made the comments in response to a reporter’s question about whether he was frustrated that his efforts to bring about peace had not succeeded. He has sent an envoy, Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, to Kyiv, Moscow, Washington and Beijing to meet with leaders there.
He said he did feel “some frustration” and then began talking randomly about the arms industry and the war.
“It seems to me that the interests in this war are not just those related to the Ukrainian-Russian problem but to the sale of weapons, the commerce of weapons,” he said.
“We should not play games with the martyrdom of this people. We have to help them resolve things ... I see now that some countries are moving backwards, not wanting to give (Ukraine) arms. A process is starting in which the martyr certainly will be the Ukrainian people and that is an ugly thing,” he said.
Asked for a clarification, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope was not taking a stand on whether countries should continue to send weapons to Ukraine or stop sending them.
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Pictured: Smoke billows from a headquarters building for the Russian Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea
01:11 PM BST
Russian airstrikes kill two in Kherson
Russian airstrikes killed two people and wounded three others in southern Ukraine’s Kherson province, the region’s governor reported.
According to Governor Oleksandr Prokudin, Russian forces struck the city of Beryslav, destroying an unspecified number of private houses.
A woman was killed and three people were wounded, including a police officer, he said.
Another airstrike also killed a 67-year-old man in the village of Lvove, he said without specifying the type of weapons used in the attack.
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Reports of another strike in Kursk
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Pictured: A wounded Ukrainian soldier is treated by Ukrainian military medics
11:17 AM BST
Russian-installed head of Donetsk imposes 5-hour curfew
The Russian-installed head of the Russian-annexed Ukrainian region of Donetsk has imposed a curfew, according to a decree published on Sunday.
Denis Pushilin banned the presence of civilians on streets and public places from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. on Mondays-Fridays, according to the decree.
The decree forbade assemblies, rallies and demonstrations as well as other mass events in Russia-controlled parts of Donetsk region unless they were permitted by Operational Headquarters for Military Threat Response in Donetsk People’s Republic.
The decree signed by Pushilin on September 18 introduced “military censorship of postal mail and messages transmitted via telecommunications systems as well as control of telephone conversations”.
10:46 AM BST
US will send Ukraine long-range ATACMS missiles, Biden tells Zelensky
Joe Biden has reportedly promised Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington will give Ukraine long-range ATACMS missiles, meeting a key request from Kyiv as it seeks to make further counter-offensive gains.
US media reported on Friday that President Biden made the pledge during a bilateral summit at the White House on Thursday, which was followed by the announcement of a new $325 million package of American weapons and aid.
The latest tranche of support did not include the ATACMS missiles, which have a range of up to 190 miles – about 40 miles further than anything currently in its arsenal.
Read more from Tony Diver here
10:44 AM BST
Drone strike hits administrative building in Kursk
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) September 24, 2023
10:38 AM BST
Pictured: A Ukrainian serviceman operates an anti air system outside of Toretsk, Ukraine
10:24 AM BST
Ukraine's Zelensky stops over in Poland to award two volunteers
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky awarded two Polish volunteers state awards during a stopover on Saturday, but did not meet any officials as relations between the two countries are strained over grain imports.
Poland decided last week to extend a ban on Ukrainian grain imports, shaking Kyiv’s relationship with a neighbour that has been one of its staunchest allies since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year.
Poland’s prime minister told the Ukrainian president on Friday not to “insult” Poles, maintaining harsh rhetoric towards Kyiv ahead of elections on October 15. The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has been criticised by the far right for what it says is the government’s subservient attitude to Ukraine.
Mr Zelensky angered his neighbours when he told the United Nations General Assembly in New York that Kyiv was working to preserve land routes for grain exports, but that the “political theatre” around imports was only helping Moscow.
On Saturday, on his way back home, he handed awards to Bianka Zalewska, a journalist who helped transport wounded children to Polish hospitals, and Damian Duda, who gathered a medical team to help wounded soldiers near the front line.
09:57 AM BST
Zelensky meets with top US businessmen
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he met leading American entrepreneurs and financiers during a visit this week to the United States, where investment opportunities in Ukraine were discussed.
Mr Zelensky said the businessmen, who included Michael Bloomberg, Larry Fink and Bill Ackman, were prepared to make major investments in rebuilding Ukraine after its war with Russia.
“The American entrepreneurs and financiers confirmed their readiness to make large-scale investments in our country immediately after the end of the war and the receipt of security guarantees,” he posted on Telegram, along with photos of the meeting.
“We are working for the victory and reconstruction of Ukraine.”
09:33 AM BST
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