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26 Aug, 2022 08:10 

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Kiev summons Vatican envoy to lodge protest

The Ukrainian government is unhappy with the Pope’s condemnation of the murder of a Russian journalist

FILE PHOTO. Pope Francis shows a Ukrainian flag. ©Massimo Valicchia / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kiev has summoned the Vatican’s representative in Ukraine to lodge a formal complaint over remarks made earlier this week by Pope Francis on the killing of a Russian journalist in Moscow.

Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said during a media briefing on Thursday that Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas had visited the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry earlier in the day.

Kiev was “disappointed” with remarks made by the Pope in response to the assassination of Darya Dugina, a Russian journalist and political commentator. She was killed by a bomb planted in her car. Moscow identified a Ukrainian woman as the primary suspect and accused Kiev of masterminding the murder, but Kiev has denied any involvement.

Pope Francis called Dugina a “poor girl” and lamented that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict was claiming innocent lives on both sides. In response, Kiev claimed that the head of the Roman Catholic Church had made a false equivalence between “the aggressor and the victim.” The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said it could not understand why he mentioned the death of “a Russian citizen on Russian territory that had nothing to do with Ukraine.”

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 Ukraine chastises Pope for condemning murder of Russian journalist

Dmitry Kuleba also said “Ukraine’s heart was torn by the Pope’s words”, calling them “unjust”.

Kiev’s ambassador to the Vatican, Andrey Yurash, earlier criticized the Pontiff on Twitter. He branded Dugina an ideologue of “Russian Imperialism” rather than an innocent person, and claimed that she was killed by “Russians”.

Dugina was the daughter of controversial Russian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, who advocates Russian exceptionalism. Western media have portrayed him for years as a secret influencer of Russian foreign policy. Darya Dugina shared some of his political views and was a fierce critic of the current Ukrainian government.

The bombing happened last weekend as the two were leaving a family party together near Moscow. According to initial reports the father was supposed to travel with the daughter in the bomb-rigged car, leading many to believe that he was the intended target. Russian investigators later said the suspect rented an apartment in the block where Dugina lived, indicating that the daughter may have been the target.

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