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Pope Francis Clarifies in An Interview That He Spoke with Ukrainian President Zelensky and Describes the Tone of the Conversation

Pope Francis  was interviewed on Thursday afternoon, May 25, by the Telemundo network. Mexican presenter Julio Vaqueiro carried out the interview shortly before the start of the Scholas Occurrentes event in the Patristic Institute Augustinianum.

One of the topics addressed was the war in Ukraine. In this connection, the presenter asked the Pope: “The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, says he does not need intermediaries; in reality, he asks him to agree to his peace formula, which includes Russia returning the territories it has taken. “Do you think Russia must do that for peace?” As is known, last May 13 Pope Francis received the Ukrainian President in audience. The topic of the private conversation wasn’t made known. However, given that after his meeting with the Pope, President Zelensky published a Tweet and, hours later, made statements in a program on Italian TV, the Ukrainian leader’s words were interpreted as being opposed to the Holy Father’s position. 

Thanks to the Pope’s answer to the Telemundo presenter, we know better what Pope Francis and President Zelensky said: “Well, that wasn’t the tone of the conversation — what I said, no? He asked me for a very big favour: to be involved with the children that had been taken to Russia. Look, I ask you that. They don’t dream so much about mediations because the Ukrainian bloc is very strong — the whole of Europe, the United States. In other words, they have a very large force of their own, no? What hurts him a lot and what he asks for is collaboration in trying to return the children to Ukraine.”

Vaqueiro came back to the topic and asked the Pontiff: “To attain peace, do you think that Russia must return those territories?” The Holy Father made it clear: “It’s a political problem. Peace will be achieved the day in which they are able to talk, either the two of them or through others.”