Ukraine and Russia deny Vatican involved in a peace plan

Vatican peace plan

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin confirmed Thursday that there is a Vatican peace plan to try to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.

He expressed surprise that officials in both countries claimed ignorance of the Vatican’s plan.

“Based on my knowledge, they know, but you know how it is, in bureaucracies, it could be that communications that are supposed to arrive don’t arrive,” Parolin was quoted as saying.

“These are just my interpretations, but I know that both parties were informed.”

Ukraine and Russia have denied any knowledge of the claim made by Pope Francis that the Vatican is involved in a secret peace plan to end the conflict between the two countries.

Their denial follows Francis, Monday, revealing a secret peace “mission” in Russia’s war in Ukraine was underway.

He also said the Vatican is willing to help facilitate the return of Ukrainian children taken to Russia during the war.

“I’m available to do anything,” Francis said during an airborne press conference en route home from Hungary. “There’s a mission that’s not public that’s underway; when it’s public, I’ll talk about it.”

Asked by reporters on May 2 if the Russian government was aware of a Vatican-led plan referenced by Pope Francis to advance the peace process in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded: “No, nothing is known,” Russian state media reported.

According to CNN, the Ukrainian government also denied engaging with the Vatican in peace talks.

“President Zelenskyy has not consented to any such discussions on Ukraine’s behalf,” CNN reported a source close to the Ukrainian president saying, “If talks are happening, they are happening without our knowledge or our blessing.”

Francis gave no details when asked whether he spoke about peace initiatives during his talks in Budapest this weekend with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban or the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Hungary.

Francis asked to help return Ukrainian children

Last week Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met with Francis at the Vatican and asked him to help return Ukrainian children taken following the Russian invasion.

“I asked His Holiness to help us return home Ukrainians, Ukrainian children who are detained, arrested and criminally deported to Russia,″ Shmyhal told the Foreign Press Association after the audience.

Francis recalled that the Holy See had facilitated some prisoner exchanges, working through embassies, and was open to Ukraine’s request to reunite Ukrainian children with their families.

The prisoner exchanges “went well. I think it could go well also for this. It’s important,” he said of the family reunifications. “The Holy See is available to do it because it’s the right thing,” he added. “We have to do all that is humanly possible.”

Deportations of Ukrainian children have been a concern since Russia invaded Ukraine last year. Francis said the Holy See had already helped mediate some prisoner exchanges.

“All human gestures help. Gestures of cruelty don’t help,” Francis said.


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