Pope Francis may send two mediators to talks with the presidents of Ukraine and Russia and try to cement a ceasefire in the conflict, according to the Italian website “Il Seismografo” specializing in Catholic information.
This new diplomatic gesture could be part of the secret peace mission that Francis announced during the return flight from Budapest last month, according to the publication.
The Pope then emphasized: “I am ready to do whatever needs to be done. Furthermore, there is now a mission in progress, but it is not yet public. Let’s see how… When it is public, I will tell”.
However, the governments of Russia and Ukraine, a few hours apart, according to Europa Press, responded that they were not aware of this initiative and said they had not received any specific communication.
According to “Il Seismografo”, the plan contemplates that the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, travel to Kiev to hold talks with the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelensky, and the head of the Department for the Oriental Churches, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti , on his way to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Vatican Press Office did not confirm, however, the information. However, he made reference to recent statements by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who assured that “now is the time to take the initiative to create a just peace in Ukraine”.
If confirmed, sending the two papal delegates to put on the table the possibility of a ceasefire that could contain the escalation of violence would be a diplomatic step similar to that taken by Pope John Paul II, who in 2003 sent two high-level elements to Washington and Baghdad in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the start of the Iraq war.
This Saturday, the Pope received Zelensky at the Vatican, with whom he met behind closed doors for 40 minutes.
As explained by the Ukrainian leader, the Pope explained to the Pontiff his ten-point peace plan, which includes Russia abandoning all Ukrainian positions, as the only possible way out of the war.