Pope Francis on Sunday called for an Easter truce in Ukraine, and in an apparent reference to Russia, questioned the value of planting a victory flag "on a heap of rubble".
Pope Francis spoke at the end of a Palm Sunday service for about 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square, the first time since 2019 that the public was allowed to attend following two years of scaled back services because of COVID-19 restrictions.
"Put the weapons down! Let An Easter truce start. But not to re-arm and resume combat but a truce to reach peace through real negotiations open to some sacrifices for the good of the people," he said.
A flare-up of pain in his knee forced Francis, 85, to skip the traditional procession from the obelisk at the centre of the square to the altar on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.
He watched instead while seated at the altar and later limped as he said the Mass.
Francis earlier evoked the horrors of war in his sermon, speaking of "mothers who mourn the unjust death of husbands and sons...refugees who flee from bombs with children in their arms...young people deprived of a future...soldiers sent to kill their brothers and sisters".
Volunteers waded through stagnant water to hand out food and supplies, and some manufacturing plants remained shut in India's southern tech-and-auto hub district of Chennai on Friday, four days after cyclone Michaung lashed the coast.
Israel has agreed, at US request, to open the Kerem Shalom border crossing for only the screening and inspection of the humanitarian aid delivered into Gaza via the Rafah crossing, a senior US official said.
Russian warplanes fired 19 long-range missiles at targets in Ukraine on Friday morning, killing one civilian in a central region, wounding four more and damaging an industrial facility, Kyiv officials said.