Russia's envoy has expressed Moscow's strong dissatisfaction to the Vatican following Pope Francis' latest condemnation of the "cruelty" of Russia's actions in Ukraine, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Tuesday.
Francis had told the Jesuit magazine America in an interview: "When I speak about Ukraine, I speak about the cruelty because I have much information about the cruelty of the troops that come in. Generally, the cruellest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryati and so on. Certainly, the one who invades is the Russian state. This is very clear."
On Monday, the Kremlin said that it welcomed a Vatican offer to negotiate an end to the conflict in Ukraine, but blamed Kyiv for a "de facto and de jure situation" that made negotiations impossible.
Pope Francis has made multiple offers to mediate an end to the conflict; he reiterated his plea ten days ago.
Last month, he for the first time directly implored Putin to stop the "spiral of violence and death" in Ukraine.
(Additional reporting by Sophie Drew)