Pope Francis is calling attention to the suffering in Ukraine caused by what he terms the "forgotten" armed conflict between government forces and Russian-backed rebels.

At his weekly audience Wednesday, Francis also renewed his call for generous contributions at Catholic churches in Europe on April 24 to help relieve the humanitarian emergency in Ukraine.

Greeting people from Ukraine and Belarus who attended, Francis also recalled this month's 30th anniversary of the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine.

He expressed gratitude to rescuers who helped after the accident and praised initiatives aimed at alleviating the suffering and damage.