Historic meeting between Pope Francis and President Zelensky

Zelensky travels to Rome to meet Pope Francis

Pope Francis greets President Zelensky. Credit: Volodomir Zelensky/Twitter

President Zelensky has travelled to Rome to meet with Pope Francis in a meeting that was kept under wraps due to security reasons.

Saturday, May 13, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky travelled to Rome for his first meeting with the Pope since hostilities began in his homeland, writes Metro.

The Ukrainian President announced online: ‘An important visit for approaching victory of Ukraine!’ While in Rome he also met with President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Giorgia Meloni.

It is understood that Italy has taken this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to Ukraine both financially and militarily, while also offering continued support in Ukraine’s bid for EU membership.

President Zelensky arrived in Rome after a flight on an official Italian government aircraft along with a fighter jet escort.

2020 was the last time that Mr Zelensky and the pope met in person, and since the invasion by Russia, they have had numerous discussions over the telephone.

Pope Francis had initially indicated he would be willing to mediate between the two warring sides but lately has taken a harder line against Russian aggression.

On April 30 this year, the pope made a curious comment about brokering a peace deal: ‘There is a mission in course now but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it.’

Pope Francis has regularly repeated his appeal for peace, but so far it has not had the positive result he was hoping for.

Following the meeting President Zelensky tweeted: ‘I met with Pope Francis. I’m grateful for his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians. I spoke about the tens of thousands of deported Ukrainian children. We must make every effort to return them home.

‘In addition, I asked to condemn Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Because there can be no equality between the victim and the aggressor. I also talked about our peace formula as the only effective algorithm for achieving a just peace. I proposed joining its implementation.’

Since 2022 it has been estimated that around 19,500 children have been taken to Russia or Crimea which is currently under Russian control.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.