Pope Francis has accused NATO of being partially responsible for the war in Ukraine due to its increasing military presence and expansion, claiming the alliance was "barking" at Russia's door.
Pope Francis has said that NATO "barking" at Russia's door is likely the reason that Vladimir Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine - Francis has repeatedly stated that he has tried to facilitate a meeting with the Russian president in Moscow.
During an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis discussed Russia's aggression against its Ukrainian neighbours and said while he might not go as far as saying NATO's presence in nearby countries "provoked" Moscow, it "perhaps facilitated" the invasion.
Francis condemned the "brutality" of the war and compared it to Rwanda's civil war in the 1990s, which resulted in a genocide of the Tutsi minority.
Since March, the Holy See has been trying to arrange a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis in Moscow, Francis said: "Of course we needed the leader of the Kremlin to allocate a window of time. We haven't yet had any response, and we are still trying, even if I fear that Putin can't and doesn't want to have this meeting at this time."
During the interview, Francis ruled out making a visit to Kyiv for now, saying: "First, I have to go to Moscow, first I have to meet Putin."