Pope Francis broke down and cried on Thursday as he mentioned the suffering of Ukrainians during a traditional prayer at Rome’s Spanish Steps.
The pope’s voice began to tremble as he mentioned the Ukrainians and he had to stop, unable to speak, for about 30 seconds while his head trembled. When he resumed the prayer, his voice was cracking.
In a sign that Russia maintains lines of communication with the West despite the war in Ukraine, Washington said Moscow had freed US basketball player Brittney Griner in return for the release of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
“She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home,” President Joe Biden said from the White House, where he was accompanied by Griner’s wife, Cherelle, and administration officials.
Russia confirmed that Bout had been exchanged for the 32-year-old Griner, who was detained in a Cold-War style standoff between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia will continue to strike Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, after successive waves of missile strikes have left swathes of the country without clean water and electricity.
During a ceremony at the Kremlin, Putin described the attacks on Ukraine’s vital infrastructure as a response to the October blast that struck a bridge linking Russia to the Crimean peninsula and which Moscow blames on Ukraine.
Source: France 24