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VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Sunday called for an international day of “prayer for peace” on January 26 to stop the Ukraine crisis from worsening, saying the tensions were threatening the security of Europe and risking vast repercussions.

Francis announced the prayer day and made the appeal for dialogue to defuse the crisis during his weekly address and blessing to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square.

Top US and Russian diplomats failed on Friday to make a major breakthrough in talks to resolve the crisis over Ukraine, although they agreed to keep talking.

On Sunday, Britain accused Russia of seeking to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine.

Shun polarisation, try dialogue to heal divided world: pope

“I am following with concern the rising tensions that threaten to deliver a new blow to peace in Ukraine and put the security of Europe in doubt, with even more vast repercussions,” he said.

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