At lunchtime today (Friday) Pope Francis received a poignant reminder of the human cost of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
During an audience with Andrii Yurash, ambassador of Ukraine to the Holy See, the diplomat gave the Pope a giant teddy bear, with a “wound” on its right paw, some stitches and burns. The ambassador said the bear was being given in memory of all the Ukrainian children who will now no longer be able to play with a toy because their young lives have been interrupted by a rocket or missile.
The bear had been ‘wounded’ in a Russian missile attack in Dnipro On 14th January, when a multi-storey residential building in Dnipro was hit by a Russian attack. More than 30 apartments were instantly incinerated, with nothing left but a column of swirling ash. The explosion was heard at approximately 3:41 p.m, after a local air alert had begun at 2:00 p.m. By 19th January, 46 people were known to be killed including three children, and 80 to be injured. 11 people remain missing, and 39 people were rescued.