Pope Francis invoked “gestures of peace in these days marked by the horror of war” in an Easter vigil homily in St. Peter’s Basilica attended by the mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol and three Ukrainian lawmakers. Francis did not refer directly to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but he has called for an Easter truce in order to reach a negotiated peace.
That call appeared in vain, as Russia resumed missile and rocket attacks on Kyiv, western Ukraine and beyond in a stark reminder that the whole country remains under threat.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president’s office reported missile strikes and shelling over the past 24 hours in eight regions across the country. The governor of the Lviv region in western Ukraine – long considered a safe zone – reported airstrikes on the region by Russian Su-35 aircraft that took off from neighboring Belarus.
On Saturday, an explosion believed to be caused by a missile sent emergency workers scrambling near an outdoor market in Kharkiv, according to AP journalists at the scene. One person was killed, and at least 18 people were injured, according to rescue workers.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who met with Vladimir Putin this past week in Moscow – the first European leader to do so since the invasion began February 24 – said the Russian president is “in his own war logic” on Ukraine.