Ukraine-Russia war: Vatican involved in secret peace mission, Pope says – National

The Vatican is involved in a peace mission to try to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Pope Francis said on Sunday, without elaborating further.

“I’m going to do everything that needs to be done. I have a mission on the course right now, but it hasn’t been published yet. I’ll reveal it when it’s published,” said the Pope on the flight home after a three-day visit to Hungary. told reporters in

“I think peace is always made by opening channels. Peace cannot be achieved by closing. …This is not easy.

The pope added that he had spoken with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Metropolitan Hilarion, the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Budapest, about the situation in Ukraine.

“At these meetings, we didn’t just talk about Little Red Riding Hood. We talked about all these things. Everyone has an interest in the path to peace,” he said.

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Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Francis has made a plea for peace virtually every week and has repeatedly expressed his desire to act as a mediator between Kiev and Moscow. His offer has so far failed to produce a breakthrough.

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmikhal said he met with the Pope at the Vatican on Thursday to discuss a “peace formula” put forward by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He also said he invited the Pope to Kiev.

Pope Francis, 86, had previously said he wanted the peace mission to visit Moscow as well as Kiev.

During the war in Ukraine, tens of thousands of people were killed, millions displaced and entire cities destroyed.

Francis, who appeared to be in relatively good shape during the trip, also spoke about his health after being hospitalized in late March for what the Vatican said at the time was bronchitis.

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At the end of the public audience on March 29 (Wednesday), he felt a strong pain and tried to sleep.

“I didn’t lose consciousness, but I had a high fever and at 3pm doctors immediately took me to the hospital,” he said.

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“It was a strong acute pneumonia in the lower part of the lung. Thank God I can talk about it. The body responded well to the treatment, thank God,” he said. He was released on January 1st.

More than half a century ago, part of his lung was removed as a young man in Argentina.

The Pope said there would be no change to his plans to go to Lisbon in August for an international youth gathering and then go to Marseille and Mongolia separately.

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(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Andrew Heavens)

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