Pope Francis on Thursday urged the world to "stop the lords of war" who sinfully stoke deadly conflicts for their own financial gain — at "immense" human cost.

"The world must stop the lords of war, because those who suffer most are the last and the helpless," Francis told Italian daily La Repubblica in an interview.

"I think that today sin manifests itself with all its destructive force in war, different forms of violence and maltreatment and in the abandonment of the weakest," he said.

"I always ask myself: Does violence allow us to obtain long-lasting objectives? Are not the results only a further escalation of reprisals and a spiral of lethal conflicts, which benefit only a few lords of war?"

Wars cause forced migration, "immense" suffering, and "in the worst of cases, the physical and spiritual death of many people, if not all," Francis underlined.

"This makes me call evermore forcefully for peace in a world that is subjugated to the arms traffickers who profit from the blood of men and women," the pontiff said.