ROME (Reuters) -The Vatican’s secretary of state on Wednesday called the reported bombing of a children’s hospital in the besieged port of Mariupol in Ukraine “unacceptable.”
“I say bombing a hospital is unacceptable. There are no reasons, there are no motivations, to do this,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin told journalists who asked him at a conference in Rome about the reported bombing.
The Mariupol city council said the hospital had been hit several times by a Russian air strike, causing “colossal” destruction.
The Donetsk region’s governor said 17 people were wounded, including women in labour. The reports could not be immediately verified.
Parolin, who ranks second only to the pope in the Vatican hierarchy, spoke by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, telling him that the Holy See wanted armed attacks in Ukraine to stop and humanitarian corridors to be guaranteed.
“I am very worried, first of all by what is happening, because it has become an all-out war,” Parolin said on Wednesday, adding that his conversation with Lavrov on Tuesday lasted more than 30 minutes.
On Sunday, Pope Francis implicitly rejected Russia’s use of the term “special military operation” for its invasion of Ukraine, saying the country was being battered by war and urging an immediate end to the fighting.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Mark Porter)