Pope makes Easter plea for Ukraine peace after gunbattle

Pope Francis gives the traditional "Urbi et Orbi" blessing for Rome and the world from the balcony of St Peter's basilica during Easter celebrations on April 20, 2014 at the VaticanPope Francis urged the international community to “prevent violence” in Ukraine in his Easter Sunday message after pro-Russian insurgents in the east of the country reported four people killed in a gunbattle. “We ask you to enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine,” the Catholic leader said in his prayer for the holiday, which this year coincides with Easter in the Orthodox calendar. Francis asked that “all those involved, with the support of the international community, will make every effort to prevent violence and in a spirit of unity and dialogue, chart a path for the country’s future”. The Vatican said 150,000 people crowded into St Peter’s Square and the main avenue leading up to it for the Easter mass and the pope’s traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing to the city of Rome and to the world.

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