Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has arrived in Rome

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has arrived in Rome

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Rome on Saturday for a visit where he will meet Italian leaders including President Sergio Mattarella and Pope Francis.

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Mr Zelenskyy, who was received at Ciampino military airport by the head of Italian diplomacy Antonio Tajani, indicated on Twitter that he would then meet Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and then Pope Francis.

“Today in Rome. I meet Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the Pope. “An important visit to move closer to Ukraine’s victory,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.

“Italy welcomes President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

We renew our commitment alongside the Ukrainian people in defense of freedom and democracy,” Mr Tajani tweeted.

The Ukrainian president’s visit will take place under high security, with many police patrols roaming the city while police forces are parked on strategic street corners, AFP reported.

Snipers were also stationed on the roofs and a ban on flying over the city, even for unauthorized drones, was issued.

The 86-year-old pope, who welcomed Mr. Zelenskyy to the Vatican in February 2020, has repeatedly called for peace in Ukraine and prays for his victims almost weekly during his general audience.

Last month he met Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal, who invited him to Ukraine and asked for his help in repatriating children who had been forcibly taken to Russia.

When the Pope received ambassadors in the Vatican this Saturday, he again recalled “the war in Ukraine, which brings with it unspeakable suffering and death”.

At noon, the Ukrainian president will meet Giorgia Meloni, who traveled to Kiev in February to confirm Italy’s support for Ukraine, despite the peninsula having close ties with Russia before invading Ukrainian territory in February 2022.

“I wanted to reiterate (coming to Kyiv) Italy’s full support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression and reiterate that Italy has no intention of backing down,” he said at the time. Ms. Meloni during a press conference with Mr. Zelenskyy.