The Ukrainian president negotiated with Pope Francis for forty minutes

Russia; Ukraine; negotiation; war; Vatican; visit; Pope Francis; Volodymyr Zelensky;

2023-05-13 22:35:00

Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked the head of the Catholic Church to condemn the war crimes committed in Ukraine, because the victim and the aggressor cannot be equated.

The humanitarian and political situation caused by the war in Ukraine was affected by the meeting between Pope Francis and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the Vatican on Saturday, which lasted forty minutes, said the spokesman of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni.

“Thank you for coming to see me,” the Pope said upon the arrival of his guest. To this, the Ukrainian president replied: it is a great honor for him to be able to meet the head of the church in the Vatican. After the face-to-face meeting, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, responsible for foreign affairs, joined the meeting on behalf of the State Secretariat of the Holy See.

According to a statement from the head of the Holy See press center, Pope Francis assured the Ukrainian president that he is constantly praying. He recalled that since the outbreak of the war in February last year, he had made many public appeals and asked for God’s intercession for peace. They agreed on the need to continue humanitarian efforts to help Ukrainian civilians. The Pope emphasized that gestures of humanity must be made to the vulnerable people, the innocent victims of the war, the statement reads.

According to a separate announcement by the State Secretariat of the Holy See, Paul Richard Gallagher discussed the current war situation and its most urgent aspects with the Ukrainian president. They covered the humanitarian situation and the efforts made so far and to be made for peace. They discussed bilateral issues, including the life of the Catholic Church of Ukraine. The head of the Catholic Church met with Volodymyr Zelensky in the Vatican in February 2020, but since the outbreak of the war, they have only spoken on the phone twice.

St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican area were completely closed for the duration of the Ukrainian president’s visit. The security preparedness was extraordinary, which explained why Pope Francis did not receive Volodymyr Zelensky in the usual place, in his study, but in the hall next to the audience hall, where Pope II recently met. Elizabeth met the then British monarch.

Among other things, Pope Francis presented the Ukrainian president with a bronze olive branch as a symbol of peace. And Volodymyr Zelensky handed him a work made from the bulletproof vest of a Ukrainian soldier, on the armor plate of which the icon of the Virgin Mary, protecting the soldier defending the homeland, was painted. Another picture referred to the children who died in the war.

Around the Vatican, a small group of Ukrainian refugees living in Rome waved national flags. The leader of the group, Olesz Horodecky, the president of the association of Christian Ukrainians in Italy, said that they hope that the meeting with Pope Francis can open a new path in the search for diplomatic solutions.

Volodymyr Zelensky reported on Twitter about his meeting with Pope Francis. He thanked the bishop for paying personal attention to the tragedy affecting millions of Ukrainians. He told her about the tens of thousands of deported Ukrainian children and the efforts made for their return home. As he wrote, he asked Pope Francis to condemn the war crimes committed in Ukraine, because the victim and the aggressor cannot be equated. He also reported on the Kyiv peace plan, which he says is the only working idea for creating a just peace. He asked Pope Francis to join in launching the peace plan.

Previously, at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Volodymyr Zelensky announced that 19,393 children whose names and when they were taken to Russia were identified have been identified so far. Their real number is probably much higher, because two hundred thousand children lived in the territories occupied by the Russians before the war.

Source: Népszava by

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