"In the name of God I ask you: stop this massacre!"
Pope Francis speaking today of the war Ukraine,
The pope has not used the word "Russia" in his condemnations of the war since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion on 24th February.
But his choice of words, such as "armed aggression" and "no valid strategic reason," appear aimed at contesting Moscow's justifications for the invasion.
Russia calls its action a "special military operation". Last Sunday Francis explicitly rejected that term, saying it could not be considered "just a military operation" but a war that had unleashed "rivers of blood and tears".
Speaking today to thousands of people in St Peter's Square, for his Sunday blessing, Pope Francis said that the "unacceptable armed aggression" must stop, and also that the killing of children and unarmed civilians was "barbaric" and with "no valid strategic reason".
He called the besieged city of Mariupol a "martyred city" and again appealed for "truly secure humanitarian corridors" to allow residents to evacuate.