Ukraine’s Zelenskiy travels to Rome to satisfy Pope Francis, Italian officers By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint press convention with European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen (not pictured), amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine Could 9, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) -Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy started a go to to Rome on Saturday for talks with authorities officers and Pope Francis, who in late April mentioned that the Vatican is concerned in a peace mission to finish the struggle with Russia.

Zelenskiy, on his first journey to Italy since Russia invaded in February final 12 months, held talks with President Sergio Mattarella on the Quirinale Palace and was resulting from have a working lunch with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni earlier than heading to the Vatican.

On Twitter, Zelenskiy known as his go to to Italy and the Vatican “An essential go to for approaching victory of Ukraine!”

As he headed to the presidential palace, Zeleniskiy’s motorcade handed by small teams holding Ukrainian flags, with one particular person holding up an indication condemning Russia.

Zelenskiy, whose aircraft was escorted over Italian airspace by fighter jets, was additionally anticipated to be the visitor of a preferred Italian tv discuss present earlier than heading to Germany.

Meloni visited Zelenskiy in Kyiv in February to guarantee him of Italy’s continued assist for Ukraine, regardless of a few of her allies, most notably former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, having longstanding, shut ties with Moscow.

The assembly with the pope is anticipated to be probably the most important a part of Zelenskiy’s time in Italy. He beforehand met the pope on the Vatican in 2020 and the 2 have had a number of telephone conversations for the reason that struggle started.

Firstly of the struggle, the pope tried to take a balanced method in hopes of being a mediator however later started forcefully condemning Russia actions, evaluating them to a number of the worst crimes in opposition to Ukraine in the course of the Soviet period.

Getting back from a visit to Hungary on April 30, Francis made an intriguing however puzzling remark in regards to the Vatican being concerned in a mission to attempt to finish the struggle. “There’s a mission in course now however it isn’t but public. When it’s public, I’ll reveal it,” he informed reporters throughout his flight residence.

Each Moscow and Kyiv publicly expressed shock at his feedback. The Vatican has insisted that one thing is within the works however has provided no particulars.

Francis met this week with Russia’s outgoing ambassador to the Vatican, Alexander Avdeyev, and the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported that the Vatican could have given the envoy a letter for Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Francis has pleaded for peace virtually on a weekly foundation, and has repeatedly expressed a want to act as a dealer between Kyiv and Moscow. His provide has up to now failed to provide any breakthrough.

The pope has a standing invitation from Zelenskiy to go to Kyiv however the pope has mentioned beforehand that he additionally desires to go to Moscow as a part of the identical peace mission.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met the pope on the Vatican on April 27 and mentioned he had mentioned a “peace components” put ahead by Zelenskiy.

Zelenskiy and his workforce have been vigorously selling Kyiv’s 10-point peace plan and urging world leaders to carry a World Peace Summit primarily based on the proposals.

It requires restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities, and the restoration of Ukraine’s state borders. Zelenskiy has repeatedly mentioned the plan will not be open to negotiations.

The pope has mentioned the Vatican is prepared to do “all that’s humanly attainable” to assist the repatriation of Ukrainian youngsters. Kyiv estimates practically 19,500 youngsters have been taken to Russia or Russian-occupied Crimea since February 2022, in what it condemns as unlawful deportations.


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