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The Pope agreed with Russia on the release of Ukrainian prisoners

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“When I received lists of prisoners, both civilian and military, I sent them to the Russian government, and the response was always very positive,” Pope Francis said today in an interview published by the North American Jesuit newspaper America.

Francis, who has been criticized in the past for alleged ambiguity in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine for not naming Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that when he talks about Ukraine, he is talking about “martyrs, martyr people.”

“If there are people who are martyrs, there is someone who tortures them. When I talk about Ukraine, I talk about cruelty, because I have a lot of information about the arriving troops,” said the head of the Catholic Church.

“Of course, the occupier is the Russian state. It is clear. Sometimes I try not to specify, so as not to offend or condemn in general terms, although it is clear who I am judging. First and last name is not required. Why didn’t I nominate Putin? Because it was not necessary, it was already known. Everyone knows what my position is, with Putin and without Putin, without naming him,” Papa added.

Francis recalled that on the second day of the invasion, he went to the Russian embassy, ​​which was an unusual gesture for a pope, and claims that at the time he told the ambassador to tell Putin that he was ready to go, on the condition that he left him “a small window for negotiations.”

In an interview, he explained that he spoke on the phone three times with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and that he had made the decision that if he did go, he would go to Moscow and Kyiv, denying that he ever gave the impression that he was “covering up.” aggression,” adding that they received delegates from the Ukrainian government several times.

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However, he reiterated that “the position of the Holy See is to seek peace and understanding” and that “the diplomacy of the Holy See is moving in that direction and is obviously always available for mediation”.

The Pope also touched on the internal issues of the Catholic Church, such as the opening of the priesthood to women, stating that it was a “theological matter”, that an opening for women was not foreseen, but that it could not be seen as a “deprivation”.

“The theology of woman has not yet been developed, there is only the possibility of an administrative principle,” the pope said, emphasizing the role of women.

“Women are mothers and better than us men see the sacrament of the Church. That’s why women’s advice is so important. And the female solution is better. When a woman goes into politics or government, she usually does well. And it is women, there are many economists who are constructively renewing the economy,” he said.

When asked about racism in the American Catholic Church, the Pope called it “an unbearable sin”, as well as sexual abuse of minors, which he called “monstrous”.

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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