Thursday 14 December 2017

Pope's cry for truce as shell kills five at hospital

Pope Francis waves to Catholic faithful as he arrives to lead mass in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Reuters
Pope Francis waves to Catholic faithful as he arrives to lead mass in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Reuters

A shell hit a hospital in the east Ukrainian rebel-controlled city of Donetsk, killing or injuring several people, the city administration said.

"An artillery shell hit a hospital, there are dead and wounded," a statement on the administration's website said.

It said the number of dead was being established but the Russian news agency RIA quoted rebel sources as saying that five people had been killed.

Earlier, the Ukrainian military said two of its soldiers had been killed and 18 wounded in fighting against pro-Russian separatists in the previous 24 hours.

The Ukrainian military said separatist forces had launched around 80 artillery or rocket attacks on Ukrainian positions and villages in the past 24 hours.

The nine-month-old conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 5,000 people. Violence has surged since the latest peace effort collapsed last Saturday in Minsk, Belarus, with no agreement.

Pope Francis has denounced the surge in fighting, saying it was a "scandal" that Christians were fighting among themselves.

During his weekly general audience, he called for greater international efforts to bring Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops back to negotiations.

"I think about you, Ukrainian brothers and sisters, and I think that this is a war among Christians! You have the same baptism, and you're fighting among Christians. Think about this, this scandal," he said.

In urging prayers for peace, the Pope said prayer was a "protest before God in times of war".

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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