Fiona Hill, adviser to former US President Donald Trump on Russia, and Angela Stent, Professor at Georgetown University, believe that Pope Francis a supporter of Russia's position on Ukraine and NATO.
Russia's position is that the United States and other Western countries are waging a proxy war in Ukraine, Hill and Stent said in an article for Foreign Affairs publication.
According to them, Francis agrees with this opinion.
"Internationally, Putin's assertions about NATO and proxy wars with the United States and the collective West have won a variety of adherents, from prominent academics to Pope Francis, who said in June 2022 that the Ukraine war was "perhaps somehow provoked,"" the article said.
At the same time, Western politicians continue to argue about NATO's guilt in the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine. Kyiv's moves towards the West — whether it is joining NATO, the EU or bilateral relations with the United States — "any of these efforts would have been an affront to Russia's history and dignity," the authors of the article said.
On August 24, Francis, commenting on the murder of Russian journalist Darya Dugina in the Moscow region, called her an innocent victim who died because of the war.
"I am thinking about the poor girl who was blown up by bomb that had been planted under the car seat in Moscow. Innocents pay the price of war. Innocents!" he said.
The Pontiff also expressed his condolences on the death of Dugina.
Later, Ukrainian Ambassador to the Vatican, Andriy Yurash, criticized Francis for his words about the journalist and said that he was disappointed in the pontiff's position.
"One cannot speak about the aggressor and the victim, the rapist and the raped in the same categories; how can one of the ideologists of Russian imperialism be called an innocent victim?” he objected.
Journalist Marco Politi said that Pope Francis was dissatisfied with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky because of the pressure he was exerting to support Kyiv. According to Politi, Zelensky continues to put pressure on Francis, trying to get him to visit Kyiv, but the Pope does not want to visit the Ukrainian capital without visiting Moscow. The behind-the-scenes fight has been going on for months, Marco Politi said.
Francis announced his intention to visit Russia after his visit to Canada in July. He then said that the meeting with President Vladimir Putin "will contribute to the cause of peace." However, Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that no specific agreements had been reached.