Pope Francis calls on Russia to stop 'spiral of violence and death'

He also appeals to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be 'open to serious peace offers'.

Pope Francis calls on Russia to stop 'spiral of violence and death'

Pope Francis on Sunday reiterated his call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the war in Ukraine.

"My appeal is addressed first and foremost to the President of the Russian Federation, imploring him to stop this spiral of violence and death, also for the sake of his own people," the pope is quoted as saying by Vatican News.

Also, he appealed to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy "to be open to serious proposals for peace. I urge all the protagonists of international life and the political leaders of nations to do everything possible to bring an end to the war."

Expressing his concern over the nuclear threat and military escalation in the war in Ukraine, he said: "I deeply deplore the grave situation that has arisen in recent days, with further actions contrary to the principles of international law. It increases the risk of nuclear escalation, giving rise to fears of uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences worldwide."

Also, it is “disturbing” that some parts of Ukraine become "places of indescribable suffering and fear," he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

On Sept. 23 - 27, the Ukrainian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and Russian-controlled parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson held referendums on joining Russia.

The referendums have been condemned by the international community, with European nations and the US calling them a "sham" and saying that they will not be recognized.