The Pope received Zelensky in Rome

the ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky met this Saturday in Rome with Pope Francis, the president of Italy, Sergio Mattarellaand the prime minister Giorgia Meloniin what he defined as an “important visit” for the “victory” of his country in the war against Russia.

In the first face-to-face dialogue between the two since the start of the war in February 2022, the Pope and Zelensky They met for 40 minutes in a room in the Paul VI Hall of the Vaticanreported papal spokesman Matteo Bruni.

After the meeting, the pontiff gave him a bronze work with an olive branch, “peace symbol”in addition to his writings, while the president gave him a work of art taken from a projectile shelter and a painting about the murder of children during the conflict.

The meeting took place in a context of reserved negotiations by the Holy See to achieve a rapprochement between Ukraine and Russia, and following the public announcement by the Pope that the Vatican will mediate to achieve the restitution of thousands of children that kyiv denounces were deported from the country.

Since the start of the war, the Pope and the president have spoken by phone at least twice, according to what Francis revealed in dialogue with journalists. Zelensky had already visited the Pope in 2020.

For the moment, however, Francis has not spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin.although he showed his willingness to contact the president and hinted at the Kremlin leader’s rejection of a meeting. On Thursday, Francis received the Russian ambassador to the Holy See, Alexander Avdeev, for the traditional farewell visit..

Weeks ago, he received Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, in the first high-level bilateral between the two countries since the start of the Russian invasion. For the moment, the Pontiff has not been to kyiv since the start of the warsince it seeks to be able to make a joint visit to Moscow, while the Italian premier, Meloni, visited the Ukrainian capital in February.

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Two weeks ago, the premier also received Shmyhal to launch a forum with which it seeks to involve Italian companies in the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war.

With Mattarella and Meloni

At Italian noon, Zelensky began his round of meetings with a meeting of about half an hour with Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace.where he was received with military honors and the Ukrainian flag raised while the anthems played.

“Italy was and is on the right side, on the side of truth in this war. We are moving in the direction of victory. Victory means peace for our country.”Zelenski raised after the meeting with the president. “Welcome President, Italy is completely by his side,” Mattarella had told him upon receiving him.

After the meeting with the president, Zelenski held a “long and prolific” 70-minute meeting with the right-wing Meloni, as the premier described it in statements to the press, highlighting “the relations between Italy and Ukraine”.

“Italy has a very clear pro-Ukraine position,” added the premier. Zelenski, meanwhile, raised his gratitude “for the consistent stance on supporting Ukraine”.

“We appreciate the significant military assistance that gives our country the ability to resist Russian aggression. The key to our success on the battlefield is the timely receipt of the necessary assistance.”the Ukrainian leader then indicated.

Arriving at Ciampino airport in the capital this morning, Zelensky had considered that today’s is “an important visit to get closer to the victory of Ukraine”.

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