Pope Francis meeting with a boy during a visit to the Bambino Gesu Children s Hospital in Rome, in the ward where the children who arrived from Ukraine in the last few days are being treated. AFP
A smiling Francis, 85, reached out to clasp the hands of children as he walked through a ward at the Bambino Gesu hospital in the capital, which is currently treating 19 Ukrainian children.
The Vatican said around 50 children in all had passed through the hospital since the war broke out.
Some were suffering oncological, neurological and other problems before the crisis and "fled in the first days of the war", it said.
Others were girls with "serious blast wounds" sustained in the clashes, it said.
"Let us pray for them.... the children at the 'Bambino Gesu' wounded by war," the pontiff said earlier Saturday as he addressed a children's choir.
"It is a difficult moment. We, here in Rome, will help them to get better," he said.