Italian cardinal entrusted with Ukraine peace mission

Italian cardinal entrusted

Pope Francis has entrusted Cardinal Matteo Zuppi (pictured) to head the Russia and Ukraine peace mission on behalf of the Vatican, the Holy See press office said on Saturday.

Zuppi is a prominent Italian cardinal known for his close association with the pontiff.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni announced the development on Saturday, revealing that the specific details and timeline for the mission are currently being evaluated.

“I can confirm that Pope Francis has entrusted Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna and President of the Italian Bishops Conference, with a mission to contribute to easing tensions in the conflict in Ukraine. The Holy Father holds on to the hope that this mission can pave the way for peace.”

The announcement follows Pope Francis’ recent meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Vatican.

After the meeting, Zelenskyy expressed scepticism about the possibility of any mediation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Secret peace mission

Pope Francis said at the end of April that the Vatican was involved in a secret peace mission to end the conflict in Ukraine.

Speaking to the press travelling with him, the pontiff said: “Everyone is interested in the path of peace. I am willing, I am willing to do whatever needs to be done. Even now a mission is underway, but it’s not public yet, we’ll see…

“When it’s public, then I’ll speak about it.”

Both Ukrainian and Russian officials quickly denied that negotiations were taking place. Still, a close papal aide confirmed the pope’s statement in an interview with an Italian news outlet published earlier this month.

Bruni said Pope Francis hopes the operation, which will be carried out in agreement with the Secretariat of State, “can initiate paths of peace.”

According to Il Sismografo, an Italian blog, the governments of Ukraine and Russia have replied to the Vatican and declared their availability in principle.

Francis has repeatedly denounced the war, warned against a buildup of weapons in the conflict and prayed for the suffering Ukrainian people. However, he generally shied away from blaming Putin in his many comments on the war.

The pontiff has expressed his willingness to visit Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, with the intention of aiding the peace process. However, he has stipulated that such a visit would be possible only if he could also make a corresponding visit to Moscow.


AP News

Catholic News Agency

Kyiv Post

Il Sismografo

CathNews New Zealand

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