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Pope Francis on Sunday appealed to followers to pray for Ukraine and urged world leaders to come together to promote peace there.

"I hope that all parts of the country work to overcome misunderstandings and to build together the future of the nation," Pope Francis after the Sunday recitation of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, according to the official Vatican Network. "I extend a heartfelt appeal to the international community to support any initiative for dialogue and harmony."

Looking forward to Lent, which begins Wednesday, the Pontiff implored the faithful to "combat evil" with "weapons of prayer, fasting and mercy," according to the Vatican's news site.

Russian troops moved into Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula Sunday, after Putin declared Russia had the right to invade, even though President Barack Obama warned against military action.

Pope Francis leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican March 2, 2014.TONY GENTILE / Reuters