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Swedish, NATO Leaders Take Swipe at Pope Francis

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. Credit: Government of Sweden/Ninni Andersson

March 12, 2024 (EIRNS)—While in Brussels for the NATO flag-raising ceremony, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson took a swipe at Pope Francis’s suggestion published March 9, that Ukraine should have the courage to raise the white flag, comments that angered Kyiv. “It’s very dangerous ... not being able to see the difference between surrender and peace,” Kristersson said. “Peace demands much more than simply surrender.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was even more Orwellian, telling Reuters that only war will bring peace. “If we want a negotiated, peaceful, lasting solution, the way to get there is to provide military support to Ukraine,” he insisted. Asked if this meant that now was not the time to talk about a white flag, he replied: “It’s not the time to talk about surrender by the Ukrainians. That will be a tragedy for the Ukrainians.” He added: “It will also be dangerous for all of us. Because then the lesson learned in Moscow is that when they use military force, when they kill thousands of people, when they invade another country, they get what they want.”

In a Feb. 2 interview, partially released March 9 and to be fully published on March 20, Francis had encouraged Ukraine to seek peace and negotiate: “You may feel ashamed, but with how many deaths will it end? Negotiate in time; look for some country that can mediate.”