Pope Innocent Urges Europe To Stand Up To Russians
NEWS 10/06/2039 12:28 AM ET
Pope Innocent Urges Europe To Stand Up To Russians
by Peter Shrivastav

CC BY-SA 4.0 "T-90S" by Dmitry Terekhov | Writer image: CC0 1.0 Untitled by vishvanavanjana | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only. Image changes released under the same license as the original.
Russia's new T-412x tank during last year's Victory Day parade.
Pope Innocent exhorted Europe to resist Russian aggression, in an impassioned speech to Poland's Sejm.

The Pontiff, who traveled to Poland as part of a tour of Eastern European nations, spoke forcefully for confronting the Kremlin, against a backdrop of heightening tension.

Stopping short of advocating for military conflict, Innocent nonetheless denounced Russia's moves against Ukraine and Lithuania, labelling them "an open declaration of a new cold war".

"It is clear that some behind this new iron curtain wish for a renewed conflict under the banner of the Soviet, and this is a conflict we must not shrink from but instead embrace...Shall we wait until the Soviets come to our door before we resist them?" Innocent said.

The Pope's remarks come as Russia intensifies its activities on the borders of Lithuania and Western Ukraine. On Tuesday, Russian forces conducted aerial drills within Lithuanian airspace.

Russia has also moved significant forces within striking distance of both nations.

Innocent is expected to make similar remarks as he tours the rest of the Democracy Bloc, an alliance composed of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

The Democracy Bloc was formed in 2036 after Russia invaded Eastern Ukraine, splitting the country in two. The Bloc's mutual assistance treaty binds each Bloc nation to assist any other if it is attacked.

Innocent has often engaged in fiery rhetoric toward Russia, denouncing its recent history of "intimidation and threats" toward neighboring countries.

After Russia's 2031 combined military drills in the Kaliningrad Region simulated an offensive against Poland, Innocent launched a tirade against the Kremlin, declaring it a "place of Marx-worshipping deceivers" and calling on Russian Catholics to protest their government.

In the shadow of Russia's lightning attack against Ukraine three years ago, he announced that any Russian Catholics who did not disown their government's actions were "not true Christians in the sense that our Lord's charity and love formulates within the believer a heart of love, not hostility toward our neighbors."

He also referred to Russia's government after the Ukrainian invasion as "neo-Putinist fiends."

Last year, Innocent publicly excommunicated Russian cabinet members Vladislav Aleksandrov and Sergey Grigorev, both Catholics, labelling them "unrepentant in working to further Russian aggression."

The Western media referred to the move as "bold" and "unprecedented".

Innocent has consistently called upon Western Europe and NATO to increase their military presence in Eastern Europe, calling Russia "the great foreign threat of our time."

The Pope's popularity has soared in Eastern Europe since the Ukraine crisis, as Western Europeans continue to hold him in high regard for the social advancements made during his reign.

The French and German governments have been unwilling to commit to a firmer stance with Russia. Last year, German Minister for Foreign Affairs Lukas Müller called for further talks with the Russian government.

Innocent will travel to Slovakia tomorrow.
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