HomeWorldZelensky thanked pope for support over Ukraine 'tragedy'

Zelensky thanked pope for support over Ukraine ‘tragedy’

Zelensky thanked pope for support over Ukraine ‘tragedy’

KYIV(AFP)- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had thanked Pope Francis during a meeting in the Vatican Saturday for focusing on the plight of millions of Ukrainians after the Russian invasion.

“I am very grateful to him for his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians,” Zelensky said on Telegram, adding that they had also discussed the fate of “tens of thousands of children” Kyiv says were deported to Russia.

“We must do everything to bring them home,” he added.

Zelensky demands faster support on EU chief’s symbolic visit

Zelensky also said he had raised with the pope a Ukrainian peace plan Kyiv has promoted for several months but which Moscow has repeatedly dismissed.

He said he had asked for Pope Francis’ support for such an initiative.

Zelensky’s visit to the Vatican came during his first trip to Italy since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Earlier, he met Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella.

Zelensky and the Pope discuss Ukraine’s humanitarian needs

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a private audience with Pope Francis on Saturday where they discussed the need to help “innocent victims” of the conflict, the Vatican said.

During their 40-minute talk, they discussed issues relating to “the humanitarian and political situation in Ukraine caused by the ongoing war”, a Vatican statement said, without mentioning Russia by name.

The 86-year-old pontiff assured Zelensky “of his constant prayers, witnessed by his many public appeals and continuous invocation to the Lord for peace since February last year”, when Russia invaded its neighbour.

“Together they agreed on the need to continue humanitarian efforts to support the population. The pope stressed in particular the urgent need for ‘human gestures’ towards the most fragile people, innocent victims of the conflict.”

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