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'Aggressor must cease fire': Vatican clarifies Pope's controversial statement

'Aggressor must cease fire': Vatican clarifies Pope's controversial statement Vatican clarifies Pope Francis' controversial statement (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

The first condition for any talks on ending the war in Ukraine is that Russia must halt its aggression, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, the second-highest-ranking official after the pope, according to Corriere della Sera.

Commenting on Pope Francis' controversial statement that Ukraine should demonstrate the "courage of the white flag" and initiate negotiations with Russia to end the two-year-long war, Parolin said the pontiff's call is about creating conditions for a diplomatic solution in the pursuit of a just and durable peace.

"In this sense it is obvious that the creation of such conditions is not just up to one of the parties, but rather to both, and the first condition seems to me to be precisely that of putting an end to the aggression," he added.

Parolin said that the Vatican continues to demand a ceasefire (primarily from the aggressor) and has thus initiated negotiations.

The Vatican's Secretary of State also noted that Francis believes negotiations are not weakness but strength, not surrender but courage.

"The war unleashed against Ukraine is not the result of uncontrolled natural disaster but of human freedom, and the same human will that caused this tragedy also has the opportunity and responsibility to take steps to end it and pave the way for a diplomatic solution," he said.

Pope Francis' statement

Pope Francis recently said that Ukraine should demonstrate the courage to raise the white flag and initiate negotiations with Russia.

On March 11, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine summoned the papal nuncio to express disappointment with Francis' statement.

For more details on the scandalous statement, refer to the RBC-Ukraine's article "'White flag' of the Pope: Francis' controversial statements on Ukraine's war and his ambiguous stance."