Valetta: Pope Francis on Saturday obliquely criticized Putin referring to him a "potentate' fomenting conflict for national interest, Reuters reported.
He was on a flight to Malta when he told reporters about considering a trip to the war-torn Ukraine.
In his speech later at the Island's presidential palace, Francis made clear who he was referring to.
The pope lyrically said that dark shadows of war were spread from east of Europe, the land of sunrise.
Referring to the situation in Ukraine, he said invasion of countries, savage street fighting and atomic threats were grim memories of a distant past.
Moscow called its invasion of Ukraine a "special military operation" meant not to occupy but to demilitarize and" denazify".
Pope earlier rejected Moscow's terminology " denazify" calling it a war against Ukraine.
Francis said "the icy winds of war" only lead to "death, destruction and hatred" afterwards.
The pain in his knees forced the pope to use a freight lift to board and disembark flight and he sat as he spoke.
The pope condemned the "unjustified aggression" and denounced "atrocities" in the war.
In his speech at the palace, the pope urged not to allow the dream of peace to fade in the night of the war fallen upon humanity.
As well as criticing armaments industry, he felt sad about the fading enthusiasm for peace that emerged following the World War Two.
Francis has been invited by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Ukraine's Byzantine-rite Catholic Church, and Ukraine's ambassador to the Vatican, Andriy Yurash, the report said.