Pope Francis Seeks Talks With Russia’s Putin On Ukraine War

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

VATICAN CITY/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Pope Francis said Tuesday he wants to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to help end Europe’s worst conflict since World War Two. “I am not going to [Ukraine’s capital] Kyiv for now. I feel that I must not go,” the leader of the Catholic Church told Italy’s daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“First, I must go to Moscow. First, I must meet Putin. But I am also a priest; what can I do? I do what I can. If Putin would only open the door…” Francis added.

Francis also said visiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has close ties with Putin, recently told him that the Russian leader “planned to end the war on May 9.” On that day, Russia celebrates Victory Day, marking Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.

There was no immediate reaction from Hungary’s government, but the pope’s remarks were expected to add to suspicion in Brussels about Orbán’s relationship with the Kremlin.

Francis, 85, earlier made an unprecedented visit to the Russian Embassy in Rome when the war started in an effort to halt the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The pope confirmed he canceled a meeting planned with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, who has been supportive of Putin’s war efforts. They were scheduled to meet in June in Jerusalem as part of a broader reconciliation process between the two denominations.


Francis said he canceled their talks after a 40-minute online video conversation through the Zoom service in March in which Kirill allegedly spoke about the “justifications” for the war.

“I listened,” said Pope Francis in the interview with Corriere della Sera, “and I told him: I completely fail to understand this. Brother, we are not state clerics; we cannot use the language of politics, but that of Jesus.”

The pope added: “We are pastors of the same holy people of God. That is why we must seek ways of peace, stop the fire of arms. The Patriarch cannot become Putin’s altar boy.”

The pope explained that the June 14 meeting in Israel would have been their second face-to-face meeting, “nothing to do with the war. But now even he agrees: ‘Let’s wait; it could be an ambiguous signal.'”

Additionally, the pontiff criticized the NATO military alliance, which has been expanding toward Russia’s borders and delivering weapons to Ukraine. Pope Francis spoke of “an anger facilitated” perhaps, by “NATO’s barking at Russia’s door” that has led the Kremlin to “react badly and unleash the conflict.”

“I don’t know how to answer – I’m too far away – the question of whether it is right to supply the Ukrainians” with weapons, the pontiff said.

“The clear thing is that weapons are being tested there. The Russians now know that tanks are of little use and think of other things.” The pope complained: “This is why wars are waged: to test the weapons we have produced. Few people are fighting this [weapons{ trade, but more should be done.”

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