Zelenskyj in Rome Meeting with Pope Francis

Zelenskyy in Rome: Meeting with Pope Francis

05/13/2023 18:08 (act. 05/13/2023 18:10)

Selensky and Pope exchange gifts

Zelenskyy and Pope exchange gifts ©APA/AFP

During his visit to Rome, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was received by Pope Francis on Saturday. The 40-minute conversation took place in the presence of an interpreter, according to the Vatican.

“The Pope and Zelenskyy agree that humanitarian efforts to support the population must continue. The Pope particularly emphasized the urgent need for humane gestures towards the most vulnerable people, the innocent victims of the conflict,” said Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, after the meeting.

Pope Francis presented the President of Ukraine with a small sculpture representing an olive branch, a symbol of peace. The President of Ukraine presented the Pontiff with an icon of the Mother of God painted on the remains of a bulletproof vest. “Thank you for this visit,” the pope said as he greeted Zelenskyy. “It’s a great honor,” replied the president.

Arrival for talks with Pope Francis was delayed by a good hour because Zelenskyy had already met Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The conversation lasted longer than planned.

The meeting between the Pope and the Ukrainian president did not take place in the Apostolic Palace, as is customary between heads of state, but in the so-called Auletta – a room adjacent to the Vatican’s audience hall.

Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the Pope has been committed to a peaceful solution to the conflict. He has not ruled out a trip to Kiev. It was the pontiff himself who spoke of a possible Vatican peace mission between Russia and Ukraine. Something is happening, Pope Francis surprisingly told the world press on April 30 in the airspace between Budapest and Rome. But he didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

Zelenskyy also met President Sergio Mattarella in Rome on Saturday. “We are for peace, our victory is peace,” emphasized Zelenskyy. The Italian President underlined: “The peace for which we all work must restore justice and international law. It must be a real peace and not a surrender”.

“Ukraine’s future is a future of peace and freedom in Europe,” said Meloni, who assured Ukraine of full support with arms supplies and humanitarian aid.

After his reception with Pope Francis in the evening, the Ukrainian president will be interviewed by the famous journalist Bruno Vespa for the RAI 1 channel.