Pope Francis considered, this Friday, that Ukraine is not considering a mediation for peace because it knows that “it has a very great strength of its own”, while Moscow said it appreciated this attempt at mediation.
“They don’t dream so much of mediations, because the Ukrainian bloc is really very strong. All of Europe, the United States. In other words, they have a very great force”, Francis argued in an interview, days after having received the President at the Vatican. Volodymyr Zelensky.
After that meeting, the Ukrainian President assured that he did not need intermediaries and asked the Pope to adhere to his peace formula, which includes the withdrawal of Russian troops from all territories.
At the time, Francisco replied that “that was not the tone of the conversation” and clarified that the Ukrainian leader asked him “a very big favor”, that is, that he try to take care of the children who were taken to Russia, referring to the alleged deportation of thousands of young people.
“He is very hurt by this situation and has asked for collaboration to try to get the boys back to Ukraine,” said the Pope in the interview released today.
Asked whether he thinks Russia should return the occupied territories, Francis limited himself to replying that it was “a political problem”.
“Peace will be achieved on the day when they can talk, either the two of them or through others”, defended the Pope.
Last week, the Vatican confirmed that the Pope delegated to the president of the Italian bishops, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the task of mediating the conflict in Ukraine, to achieve a ceasefire.
Today, Moscow said it appreciates the Vatican’s efforts to promote the end of the conflict in Ukraine, but stressed that it is unaware of the details of the peace plan, as well as the possibility of a visit to Ukraine by a Vatican emissary, Matteo Bruni.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was unaware of the Vatican’s intentions, but acknowledged that it appreciated Pope Francis’ efforts to manage to unblock the conflict in Ukraine.
Speaking to the RIA Novosti news agency, a senior official of Russian diplomacy said that his government appreciates the Vatican’s attempts “to contribute to the end of the conflict in Ukraine”, saying that he had taken “good note of the sincere desire of the Holy See to promote the peace process”.
Russian diplomacy reiterated that, in any case, “any effort in this direction will only make sense if Russia’s well-known principled position is taken into account”, that is, Ukraine accepting “the new realities” regarding the annexations of Crimea and from three other regions.