By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, spoke with Lavrov by phone Tuesday amid indications of the Vatican’s growing involvement in diplomatic efforts to end Europe’s worst conflict since World War Two.
Lavrov laid out Russia’s position on Ukraine and expressed hope for another round of peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
The Russian minister was quoted as saying that Moscow wants to “seek an agreement on the key problems underlying the crisis to stop hostilities.”
In response, Cardinal Parolin “conveyed Pope Francis’ deep concern for the ongoing war in Ukraine,” said Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni in a statement monitored by Worthy News.
Cardinal Parolin “reaffirmed what the Pope said last Sunday at the Angelus,” the spokesman added, referring to the weekly Catholic devotional expressed by the pontiff.
“In particular, he reiterated his call for an end to armed attacks, for humanitarian corridors to be secured for civilians and rescuers, and for negotiation instead of armed violence.”
Parolin “reaffirmed the Holy See’s willingness to do everything possible to put itself at the service of this peace,” the spokesman stressed, suggesting Vatican-backed peace talks.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the Vatican and Lavrov expressed hope that the fighting will end soon following an agreement on “key issues.”
On Sunday, Pope Francis said the war led to “death, destruction and misery” when he addressed crowds in St Peter’s Square. He also urged prayers.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry suggested it agreed with the pope’s assessment. During the Vatican-Russian talks, “Special emphasis was placed on humanitarian issues related to the conflict,” it said.
Those issues included “measures to protect civilians, the organization and implementation of humanitarian corridors and assistance to refugees.”
There were no immediate signs that hostilities seized in Ukraine following Tuesday’s talks between the Russian and Vatican top diplomats. Though thousands reportedly managed to escape besieged cities in recent days, many remain trapped, facing an uncertain future.
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