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Pope Francis expresses sorrow in phone call to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

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Pope Francis on Saturday expressed his sorrow about the situation in Ukraine in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

According to the Ukrainian Embassy to the Holy See, Pope Francis had a conversation with Zelenskyy by phone on Feb. 26.

“The Holy Father expressed his deepest sorrow for the tragic events taking place in our country,” the embassy wrote on Twitter.

On his own Twitter account, Zelenskyy wrote that he “thanked Pope Francis @Pontifex for praying for peace in Ukraine and a ceasefire. The Ukrainian people feel the spiritual support of His Holiness.”

The Vatican press office confirmed on Saturday that there was a telephone call between Pope Francis and Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy is in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv, after he refused an offer by the United States to be evacuated. According to a U.S. intelligence official, Zelenskyy said: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”

Saturday marked the third day of fighting in Ukraine, after Russian military invaded the country in the early morning of Feb. 24.

The death toll among both military and civilians continues to rise. Swaths of Ukrainians are fleeing from the eastern part of the country to the west, or to neighboring Poland. People in the cities of Kyiv and Lviv have been forced to seek safety in shelters or subway stations.

Street fighting broke out in Kyiv on Saturday as Russian troops advanced toward the capital.

In a video recorded in downtown Kyiv on Feb. 26, Zelenskyy said “we aren’t going to lay down weapons. We will protect the country. Our weapon is our truth, and our truth is that it’s our land, our country, our children. And we will defend all of that,” the Associated Press reported.

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