Ukrainian cardinal dodges Russian bullets

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski and those who worked with him were unharmed after being shot near the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia on Saturday.

Krajewski was sent to Ukraine by Pope Francis to demonstrate the Pope’s “closeness” to the Ukrainian people.

At a recent cardinal conference in Rome, Francis told him, “It would be nice if you could go again to Ukraine, to the war zone, and visit and bring aid to the communities still there after almost 200 days of war. Let’s go,” he said.

Krajewski told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that he had entered a war zone where only soldiers are allowed.

Explaining its mission to bring aid to those trapped in no man’s land, Krajewski told Vatican News:

“The first part of the humanitarian aid was able to be done peacefully, but in the second part they started firing at us,” Krajewski said.

“For the first time in my life, I didn’t know where to run. Running is not enough, you have to know where to go,” said the Polish-born cardinal.

Krajewski thanked the Ukrainian soldiers who led the group to the shelter and warned that they had 10 minutes before the second round of attacks began.

“They say there are a lot of traitors in the area,” Krajewski told Crookes, referring to those working with the Russian military.

“When they find humanitarian aid being distributed, they give the location on their cellphones and a shootout begins.”

Krajewski said everyone was fine after taking refuge in the shelter, adding: “I was able to distribute papal beads to the soldiers.

“Almost all Ukrainian soldiers immediately wore rosaries around their necks, whatever their faith.”

On Sunday, Krajewski and his team visited the site of a mass grave left by the Russian occupiers, declaring that “the whole world now knows they are real.”

So far, Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials have said the withdrawal of Russian troops from the eastern city of Izym despite repeated denials that Russian forces have targeted civilians or committed war crimes. He later stated that at least 440 unmarked graves had been found.

In the past, the Russian government has argued that images of civilian casualties and mass graves in conflict areas amount to Ukrainian propaganda.

Krajewski removed suspicion that the mass grave was in a pine forest, and some victims showed signs of torture with their hands tied behind their backs.


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