Ukrainian ambassador Andriy Yurash said on Thursday that Ukraine expects Russia to cease hostilities during an eventual papal visit to Kyiv.
Yurash spoke for hours after meeting Pope Francis and top Vatican officials to formally present his credentials.
“We discussed many things on the agenda right now, first of all, the possible visit of His Holiness to Ukraine. I provided more arguments why it must be realized as quickly and precisely in these circumstances,” Yurash said in an interview on the sidelines of a diplomatic event in Rome.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko, and Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Schevchuk of the Byzantine-rite Catholic Church of Ukraine all invited Francis to attend.
“If Russia will understand that the pope will go to Ukraine, [then] Russia will stop the bombing at least for sure in this central and northern part, it is for sure,” Yurash said.
During a visit to Malta, Francis said he was considering a trip to Kyiv to make a peace appeal there.
Francis added that a trip to Kyiv was ‘on the table’.
Francis impliedly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Malta. He said that a ‘potentate’ was forming conflict for nationalist purposes.
While Francis has not mentioned Russia in prayer since the Russian invasion began, he has used terms like invasion and aggression to refer to Russia.
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