Von der Leyen, who visited the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in April, spoke on June 9 at the opening session of a conference organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
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Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, an estimated 3.9 million people have crossed the Poland–Ukraine border.
June 3 marks 100 days since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Pope Francis is expected to lay flowers at the foot of the Marian statue before reciting the rosary.
The pontifical foundation’s support should enable the Major Theological Seminary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to reopen in September.
According to estimates from the United Nations, nearly 6 million people have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, with more than half escaping to Poland.
The ambassador, who presented his credentials to Pope Francis in a meeting on April 11, said that much of his discussion with the Pope centered on the ongoing war in Ukraine.
In the interview, Pope Francis also reflected on whether statements made by NATO toward Russia prompted a worse reaction from Putin.
In early April the city’s mayor Vadym Boychenko has estimated at least 10,000 residents have died in the fighting, a number he claimed rose to 20,000 on Saturday.
Msgr. Kieran Harrington of the Pontifical Mission Societies: ‘Today is Good Friday, and Our Lord was hung up on the cross. He was robbed of dignity and death. The people of Ukraine are suffering on the cross right now. It’s almost overwhelming, when you look at it.’