On Saturday in the Vatican, Pope Francis and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a secret meeting to explore strategies for putting an end to the conflict with Russia.
According to Zelensky, he approached the leader of the Catholic Church to ask for assistance for his peace initiative.
The Vatican is ready to serve as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine, the pontiff recently stated.
Following the discussion, Zelensky remarked, “I also talked about our Peace Formula as the only practical formula for achieving a just peace.”
Zelensky stated in a state television interview in Italy that the pope “knows my position. The war is in Ukraine, so it has to be Ukraine’s plan” to bring about peace.
The 10-point proposal Zelensky has proposed would create a special court to try Russian war criminals, construct a European-Atlantic security framework with guarantees for Ukraine, and rebuild the country’s crippled electrical system.
The strategy calls for ensuring safety surrounding Zaporizhzhia, the biggest nuclear power facility in Europe.
In a discussion that lasted around 40 minutes, the Pope and Zelensky “discussed the humanitarian and political situation in Ukraine caused by the ongoing war,” according to a statement from the Holy See, the head of the Catholic Church.
In addition, “both parties agreed on the need to continue humanitarian efforts to support the population,” the statement said.
Following the encounter, Zelensky expressed gratitude to Francis on Twitter for “his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians.”
He continued by saying that he also discussed “the tens of thousands of deported (Ukrainian) children” with the pope. We must do everything in our power to get them back home.
Denys Shmyhal, the prime minister of Ukraine, requested the pope’s assistance in efforts to bring children from Russia to Ukraine; yet, the Vatican’s statement makes no mention of this request.
The Vatican claimed that instead, the two talked about the political and humanitarian situation in Ukraine.
The statement added that the pope “emphasised in particular the urgent necessity for ‘humanitarian gestures’ for the most vulnerable individuals, innocent conflict victims.
Prior to his meeting with the pope, Zelensky met with Giorgia Meloni, the prime minister of Italy, who promised Ukraine unrestricted financial and military support.
After the meeting, Meloni told reporters, “The message is clear and simple. “Peace and freedom are Ukraine’s future prospects. There are no alternative options for the future of Europe, which must be one of freedom and peace.
Zelensky also had a meeting with Sergio Mattarella, the president of Italy, who also expressed support for Ukraine.
Since the conflict started in February of last year, Italy has already given Ukraine almost $1.1 billion in military assistance.