Stop the 'unacceptable' war, Pope pleads

(Photo: Vatican News)

The Pope has pleaded with Russia to end the "massacre" in Ukraine.

In his Sunday Angelus in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis said that God was "only God of peace, he is not God of war", and that "those who support violence profane his name".

He said there was "pain" in his heart because of the invasion, and spoke of his fear that it would reduce Ukraine's cities "to cemeteries". 

In his address, the Pope called for an end to the "unacceptable" aggression and for the creation of "safe and effective" humanitarian corridors.

He also addressed Russia's bombing of Mariupol where the deadly strike on a maternity hospital last week has been widely condemned.

He said Mariupol "has become a martyred city of this heartbreaking war that is devastating Ukraine".

"Faced with the barbarity of the murder of children, innocents and civilians, there are no strategic reasons that can be upheld," Francis said.

"All that remains is to stop the unacceptable armed aggression, before it reduces cities to cemeteries.

"With pain in my heart, I join my voice to those of the common people who implore the end of the war

"In the name of God, may the cry of the suffering be heard, and an end be put to the bombings and attacks."

Urging the faithful to increase their prayers for peace, he added, "In the name of God I ask you, put an end to this massacre."