Pope Francis leads Europe-wide appeal for Ukraine

Sun 24 Apr 2016
By Hannah Tooley

Pope Francis is holding special collection today throughout Europe's Roman Catholic churches to raise funds for people affected by the war in Ukraine.

Earlier in April he asked tens of thousands of people at the end of a Mass in St. Peter's Square to share their money as a "gesture of charity", according to Reuters.

Violence has intensified recently in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed rebels.

Since it began in 2014 more than 9000 people have been killed and more than a million have been displaced.


It started when pro-European protesters toppled the pro-Russian government led by former President Viktor Yanukovych.

The ousting followed Mr Yanukovych's decision in November 2013 to leave a deal with the European Union to instead create stronger ties with Russia.

Ukraine has been stuck in a conflict between east and west since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The vast majority of Christians living in Ukraine are Orthodox, but there are about a million Roman Catholics.

Pope Francis has not yet specified how the aid would be distributed.

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