Pope calls for 'constructive dialogue' in Ukraine and a cessation of its violence

Pope Francis has called for "constructive dialogue" between Ukraine's authorities and its people, urging all to renounce violence in the upheaval convulsing their country.

Speaking from a window of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican to thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square, Francis said he was praying for Ukraine, especially for those who have lost their lives in recent days. He appealed on Sunday for "the spirit of peace and the search for the common good" to prevail in the eastern European nation.

Weeks of protests have escalated into violent clashes between police and demonstrators angry that the government didn't sign a deal to bring it closer to the European Union and accepted Russian aid instead.