Zelensky Arrives in Italy for Meeting With Pope


Days after Pope Francis bewildered the Ukrainian authorities with speak of a secret peace mission, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine arrived in Rome on Saturday for conferences with Francis and Italian officers, together with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Mr. Zelensky’s go to comes at a doubtlessly pivotal second within the battle in opposition to Russia, as Ukrainian forces make advances close to the important thing jap metropolis of Bakhmut forward of a extensively anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The Vatican confirmed that Francis would meet with Mr. Zelensky on Saturday. The 2 met in Rome for an official go to in 2020 earlier than the outbreak of the battle, however Francis has declined varied invites from the Ukrainian authorities to fulfill Mr. Zelensky in Ukraine.

Francis has said that, in his hopes of ultimately taking part in the position of peacemaker, he needed any go to to Ukraine to be along with a go to to Moscow, however President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has repeatedly made it clear that he needed no such go to.

In latest weeks, the pope has sought to thrust himself into the dialogue a few potential peace in Ukraine. On a flight again from Hungary final month, Francis talked cryptically about “a mission going on now, but it is not public yet” to convey peace, including “when it’s public I’ll speak about it.”

The Kremlin responded by saying it had no concept what the pope was speaking about. And Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See, Andrii Yurash, stated, “Ukraine doesn’t learn about it.”

Mr. Zelensky didn’t depart Ukraine for the primary 10 months of the battle and his preliminary journeys exterior the nation — together with to Britain, France and the US — have been uncommon. In latest weeks, nonetheless, he has visited The Hague and Finland, and is anticipated to journey subsequent to Germany.

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