Pope Francis considers a visit to Kyiv to be of little use for peace. He would have to travel to Moscow before that. The head of the church explained this in an interview with the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della sera, in which he addressed his peace efforts in the Ukraine war.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis spoke about the war between Russia and Ukraine and his meeting with the Hungarian Prime Minister in April.
“When I met him, Viktor Orbán said that it was the Russian plan to end the war on May 9. I hope that this will be the case, which would explain ‘the speed of the escalation’ of the fighting we are witnessing today. I am pessimistic, but we must do everything possible to end the war,” Pope Francis said.
He also talked about being ready to travel to Moscow to urge Vladimir Putin to end the war against Ukraine. He had let the Russian President know this in mid-March.
We have not yet received an answer, and we are still insisting, even if I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting at this time. But how can this brutality not be stopped? Twenty-five years ago we experienced the same thing with Rwanda.”
Since the outbreak of war on February 24, there have been many mediation attempts from the Vatican side, starting with the telephone call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and the Pope’s visit to the Russian Embassy to the Holy See with a request to silence the weapons.
Francis also reportedly stated unequivocally that he did not want to go to Kyiv at the moment. “I feel that I must not go. First I must go to Moscow. First I must meet Putin. But I am also a priest, what can I do? I do what I can. If Putin would only open the door…”
Asked if Russian Orthodox Patriarch Cyril I could persuade Putin to make peace or meet, the Pope shook his head, according to the newspaper.
For 40 minutes in March, I spoke with Cyril by video. For the first 20 minutes, he explained the reasons for the war with a map in his hand. I listened to him and said: I don’t understand any of this. Brother, we are not state clerics and we must not speak the language of politics, but the language of Jesus.”
Francis was also asked about arms supplies to Ukraine, and without fundamentally questioning the right to self-defense, he said “I don’t know how to answer – I’m too far away – the question of whether it is right to supply the Ukrainians.”
Pope Francis received Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for an audience on April 21. It was Orbán’s first official visit to the Vatican since Francis took office in March 2013.
Source: Mandiner, Vatican News
Featured image: Pope Francis receives Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a private audience at the Vatican on April 21, 2022. Photo by MTI/Vatican Media