Vatican Involved In Peace Mission For Ukraine After Deadly Strikes

Monday, May 1, 2023 | Tag Cloud

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News, reporting from Budapest, Hungary

BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Pope Francis said Sunday that the Vatican is involved in a peace mission for wartorn Ukraine as the bloodiest weekend for civilians in more than a month killed dozens of people.

“I am willing to do everything that has to be done. There is a mission in course now, but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it,” the pope told reporters during a flight home after a three-day visit to Hungary. He confirmed, however, that the Vatican wants to facilitate the return of Ukrainian children brought to Russia during the war. Kyiv claims thousands of children were “kidnapped” by Moscow.

Francis spoke after Russian attacks hit cities around Ukraine that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said killed at least 23 people Friday. In Kyiv, authorities said Friday that the capital came under the first missile attack since early March.

Most people were killed in the central city of Uman, where strikes hit an apartment, Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry said. Footage monitored by Worthy News showed rescue workers desperately searching for survivors in the still-smoldering ruins.

And in Dnipro, a young woman, and a child were killed, the regional governor said. As air raid sirens sounded around the country, Ukraine’s armed forces said they thwarted 21 Russian cruise missiles.

However, Ukraine also shelled targets inside Russia, including a village just over the border in Russia’s Bryansk region on Saturday evening, killing four civilians, a local governor said.

And a suspected Ukraine drone strike that ignited a massive fire at a Crimean oil depot in the Russian-occupied city of Sevastopol was a prelude to a much-anticipated spring offensive, the Ukraine military warned Sunday.


Heavy fighting is also reported around the frontlines, such as in and around the devastated eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. Thousands of soldiers as well as civilians, are believed to have been killed or injured died in months of battles, often involving trench warfare resembling the First World War.

With clashes rapidly escalating, Pope Francis said Sunday that he hasn’t given up hope that peace could be achieved. “Peace is always made by opening channels. You can never achieve peace through closure. … This is not easy.”

The pope added that he had spoken about the situation in Ukraine with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has urged a ceasefire. The Pope also met with Metropolitan (bishop) Hilarion, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Budapest.

Pope Francis had declined to meet Patriarch Kirill, who he reportedly called [Russian President Vladimir] “Putin’s altar boy.”

However, in the meetings in Budapest, “we did not just talk about Little Red Riding Hood. We spoke of all these things. Everyone is interested in the road to peace,” Francis said.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met Francis at the Vatican on Thursday, saying he had discussed a “peace formula” put forward by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. He stressed that he had also invited the pontiff to visit Kyiv.

Pope Francis, 86, has said previously that he wants to visit Kyiv but also Moscow on a peace mission. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed or injured since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February last year.

Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes, and whole cities have been flattened in Europe’s bloodiest armed conflict since World War Two.

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