Sept. 18 (UPI) — Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, a top Vatican envoy, came under fire near the city of Zaporizhzhia while distributing humanitarian aid to Ukraine, the Vatican’s news service reported Sunday.
Krajewski visited Ukraine for the fourth time since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, first traveling to the Black Sea port city of Odesa, according to the Vatican.
The cardinal loaded a minibus with humanitarian provisions including food and other aid for the frontline of the war with the help of a Catholic bishop, a protestant bishop and a Ukrainian soldier.
Krajewski drove to the frontlines and unloaded the minibus where he and his companions came under “heavy firing,” according to the Vatican.
He said that he had to seek cover “for the first time” in his life in an area where “no one besides soldiers enter anymore.”
“I didn’t know where to run,” Krajewski said. “It’s not enough to run. You have to know where to go.”Krajewski escaped from the ordear unscathed and nobody else was injured, according to the Vatican.
The cardinal also handed out rosaries that had been blessed by Pope Francis and was scheduled to travel next to Kharkiv.
The Polish-bord Krajewski is the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Service of Charity, also known as the Apostolic Alms Office, which aims to help the poor, vulnerable and excluded in the name of the pope.
Francis, speaking from St. Peter’s Square after the recitation of the Angelus prayer, on Sunday asked for people to “continue to pray for the suffering people of Ukraine and for peace in every land bloodied by war.”
He also urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to respect a ceasefire amid the latest border clashes between the two countries that has led to the deaths of more than 200 people.
Russian forces continued to conduct “meaningless” offensive operations near the city of Donetsk in the Donbas region of Ukraine, analysts said Saturday.
A top official in Moscow said that authorities are working to place 125Ukrainian children described as “orphans” taken from the occupied Donetsk province of Ukraine with Russian families.