Vatican Confirms an Apology was Offered to the Russian Federation for Pope Francis' Comments on the War in Ukraine


The Vatican has apologized for the Pope's words about ethnic minorities in the Russian Federation. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Thursday: "I can confirm that there were diplomatic contacts in this regard." A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry had previously spoken of an apology from Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and described the matter as settled. 
In an interview with America Magazine the pope said, “As a rule, the most cruel, perhaps, are those who are from Russia, but do not adhere to the Russian tradition, such as Chechens, Buryats and so on,” he said. Here he refers to the two ethnic minorities make-up troops in Russia’s battles. Chechens, of south-west of Russia, are predominantly Muslim, while Buryats the Mongol ethnic group are native of east Siberia and often adhere to Buddhism.  The interview was published on November 22 with the Jesuit magazine. 
The Pope was referencing media reports of soldiers from the Caucasus and southern Siberia that constitute a relatively large proportion of the Russian troops in Ukraine and are reported to be involved in some war crimes. Post publication of the Pope's interview, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the words were "incomprehensible statements" that "do not serve the authority of the Holy See".