Pope Francis could meet with President Zelensky in the Vatican

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis waves while leading the Regina Caeli prayer from his window in the Vatican, on May 7, 2023. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS (VATICAN MEDIA/)

Pope Francis could meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Vaticanthis weekend, a Vatican official announced Thursday.

Francis has repeatedly called for an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine and has expressed his solidarity with the Ukrainian people, calling them “martyrs.” Recently, the pontiff revealed that a secret peace “mission”but did not provide details.

“I am willing to do whatever needs to be done. There is a mission in progress, but it has not been made public yet. When it is public, I will reveal it,” the pontiff said.

“I believe that peace is always made by opening channels. Peace is never achieved by closing in on one another (…) This is not easy, ”she said.

Thus, he has shown his conviction that “peace is always achieved by opening channels.” “Peace cannot be achieved with a closure. I invite everyone to open relationships, channels of friendship”, the Pope pointed out, who has recognized that “it is not easy”. “The same things that I have said in general I have transferred to Orbán and everywhere,” he explained.

The announcement of the possible Saturday meeting in Rome followed news, confirmed last week by Berlin police, that Zelensky was expected to arrive in Germany from Saturday night. Italian media, citing unnamed sources, reported on Thursday that Zelensky might be in Rome later that day to meet with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the pope.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a speech titled
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a speech titled “No Peace Without Justice for Ukraine” in The Hague, Netherlands, on May 4, 2023. (Yves Herman/Pool via AP) (Yves Herman/)

A Vatican official said a pope’s audience with Zelensky on Saturday was “a possibility.”. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the visit was not confirmed.

Zelensky and the people of Ukraine will receive on Sunday the International Charlemagne Prize, which is awarded annually by the German city of Aachen, for their contributions to European unity. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is expected to deliver the speech honoring Zelensky.

Francis met with Zelensky before the war and last month met with the Ukrainian prime minister, who asked for the pontiff’s help in mediating the return of Ukrainian children brought to Russia after the Kremlin-ordered invasion. Francis recently told reporters that he thought the Vatican could helpgiven his previous mediation in prisoner exchanges.

Francis said goodbye Thursday to Russian ambassador to the Holy See, Alexander Avdeev, at the end of his seven-year term.

(With information from AP)

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