Russia-Ukraine live: Pope Francis condemns 'brutality and ferocity' of Russian mercenaries

Pope praises 'brave' Ukrainians for defending their country but says the invasion was 'perhaps either provoked or not prevented'

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Latest developments on Tuesday:

  • No way out of Severodonetsk after last bridge destroyed
  • Forty children among 500 civilians trapped in chemical plant
  • War may deprive world of three Ukrainian wheat harvests, says minister
  • EU officials reject using Belarus to move stuck Ukrainian grain
  • Russia slashes gas deliveries via Nord Stream

Pope Francis condemned the brutality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Tuesday.

"What we are seeing is the brutality and ferocity with which this war is being carried out by the troops, generally mercenaries, used by the Russians," he said in an interview published in the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica on Tuesday.

He praised Ukrainians as "brave" for defending their homeland, but added that the war "was perhaps in some way either provoked or not prevented."

On the battlefield, civilians in Severodonetsk are trapped after Russian forces destroyed the last bridge out of the city, the Luhansk region's governor said on Monday night.

Russian troops are now in control of most of the eastern city, which sits in a strategic area in the battle for the Donbas region.

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Updated: June 14, 2022, 1:48 PM