Pope Francis said on Tuesday declared his intention to meet with the Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the invasion of Ukraine and seek ways to end the hostility.
In an interview with Italy’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper, the Pope said he had asked for a meeting with the Russian leader in Moscow in a bid to end the war in Ukraine but had not received a reply.
Pope Francis, who visited the Russian embassy in Italy when the war started, said about three weeks into the conflict, he asked the Vatican’s top diplomat to send a message to Putin.
He said: “The message was that I was willing to go to Moscow. Certainly, it was necessary for the Kremlin leader to allow an opening. We have not yet received a response and we are still insisting.
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“I fear that Putin cannot, and does not, want to have this meeting at this time. But how can you not stop so much brutality? Twenty-five years ago in Rwanda we lived through the same thing.”
The 85-year-old Pope had not specifically mentioned Russia or Putin publicly since the start of the conflict on February 24, but has left little doubt which side he has criticised whenever he spoke, often using terms such as unjustified aggression and invasion and lamenting atrocities against civilians.
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