Pope Francis and Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky They agreed yesterday on «the need to continue with the humanitarian efforts to support the population» that is suffering from the war in Ukraine.

(Read here: The ‘historical turning point’ that spending in Europe is going through due to the war in Ukraine)

The Ukrainian leader also revealed that he asked the Supreme Pontiff to condemn «Russian crimes in Ukraine because there can be no equality between victim and aggressor» and I insist that «just peace» is the only possible one.

met for the first time since the start of the war, in the Vatican, an expected meeting that comes after the pontiff revealed that a mission is underway to put an end to the war in Ukraine, of which the results are still unknown. details.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the Vatican explained that the meeting lasted about 40 minutes and that «the topics of the conversation referred to the humanitarian and political situation in Ukraine caused by the ongoing war.»

«The Pope assured his constant prayer, witnessed by his numerous public appeals and continuous invocation to the Lord for peace, since February of last year,» when the Russian invasion began that sparked the conflict more than a year ago.

Meeting between the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelensky, and the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella.



In addition, «both agreed on the need to continue with humanitarian efforts to support the population» and «the Pope stressed in particular the urgent need for ‘gestures of humanity’ towards the most fragile people, innocent victims of the conflict.»

«I am grateful to him for his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians,» Zelensky wrote on social media, adding that he spoke with the pontiff about the fate of «tens of miles of children deported» from parts of his country. occupied by Russian troops. “I also spoke of our Peace Formula as the only effective algorithm to achieve a just peace. I proposed to him to join that implementation,” Zelenski added.

We all want a speedy end to this heinous Russian war against the Ukrainian people, but unfortunately it is not in sight.

The Pope gave him a bronze work representing an olive branch, a symbol of peace, as well as this year’s Message for Peace, the Document on Human Fraternity, and the volume ‘An encyclical on peace in Ukraine’.

The Ukrainian president, for his part, presented him with a work of art made from a bulletproof vest and a painting titled Loss, about the killing of children during the conflict.

It is the first meeting of the Pope with the Ukrainian president since the war began, although they already know each other because Francis received Zelensky in audience on February 8, 2020, when they already discussed «the humanitarian situation and the search for peace.» in the context of the conflict that has plagued Ukraine since 2014.
The meeting comes in the midst of the Vatican peace mission announced by the pontiff on the return flight from his recent trip to Hungary and the details of which are not yet known, although a Vatican source has told Russian media that the meeting » is not directly related» to her and that Zelensky requested the meeting with Francisco «just a few days ago.»

A Ukrainian serviceman digs a trench in Chasiv Yar, near the frontline town of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region.


Dimitar Dilkoff. AFP

New advances in Bakhmut

In addition, the visit occurs when an imminent Ukrainian counteroffensive is expected with which kyiv wants to reconquer a large part of the territory occupied by Moscow. For all these reasons, the meeting had raised great expectations, given the possibility that you could open a spiral of dialogue in the conflict.

Zelensky arrived in Rome yesterday not only for meetings with the Supreme Pontiff but also with other Italian authorities. His journey in Italy began with a meeting with the president of that country, Sergio Mattarella, and then with the head of government, Giorgia Meloni.

Zelenski will continue his tour today in Germany, a country that also announced yesterday a new military aid plan for Ukraine, worth 2.7 billion euros. This is an unprecedented move by Berlin, which after World War II had maintained a neutral position in the world.

The package, the largest in Germany since the start of the war, according to Der Spiegel, included 30 Leopard-1 A5 tanks, Marder-type armored vehicles, anti-aircraft defense systems and surveillance drones.

“We all want a speedy end to this heinous Russian war against the Ukrainian people, but unfortunately it is not in sight. That is why Germany will provide all the help it can, for as long as it takes,» said German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

In Germany, Zelensky is expected to receive the Charlemagne Prize, which rewards outstanding commitment to understanding in Europe.

Meanwhile, on the ground, both Russia and Ukraine claim advances in the Bakhmut region (east), where the longest and bloodiest battle of this war is being fought. The Ukrainian army assured that it «advances» in «some areas» around Bakhmut and that «the enemy loses equipment and troops.»

The Russian Ministry of Defense assured, for its part, that its troops «liberated a neighborhood in the northwestern part of the city of Artiomovsk», the Russian name for Bakhmut. Expectations for kyiv’s spring counteroffensive rose, but Zelensky said Thursday his army needed more time.