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Pope makes unexpected statement on talks between Ukraine and Russia

Pope makes unexpected statement on talks between Ukraine and Russia Pope Francis (photo: Getty Images)

Pope Francis has made an unexpected statement in support of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia to end the war. According to him, it is necessary to find the courage to raise the "white flag".

Reuters has obtained a recording of the Pope's interview with the Swiss TV channel RSI, which took place in February and is to be published on March 20. The recording contains a fragment of the interview, where the pontiff answers the question of whether Ukraine should raise the "white flag" and negotiate with Russia, despite the fact that many say that this will legitimize Moscow's aggression.

"It is one interpretation, that is true. But I think that the strongest one is the one who looks at the situation, thinks about the people and has the courage of the white flag, and negotiates," Francis said, adding that the negotiations should be mediated by other countries.

According to the Pope, Turkey could be one of these mediators.

"One may feel shame. But how many dead will it end up with? We need to negotiate. Do not be ashamed of negotiating, before things get worse," he emphasized.

However, the pontiff proposes to settle not only the war between Ukraine and Russia through negotiations. In another part of the interview, which concerned Israel's conflict with Hamas militants, Francis said that "negotiating is never a surrender."

The pontiff has previously advocated a diplomatic settlement, but this is the first time he has actually called on Ukraine to surrender. Ukrainian authorities have not yet commented on the Pope's statement.

Pushing Ukraine to negotiate with Russia

Over the two years of full-scale Russian aggression, Ukraine has been pushed several times to negotiate with Russia. A new stage of pushing has recently begun. In particular, China has once again sent its special representative, who is responsible for a "diplomatic settlement", to Russia, Ukraine, and the EU.

Yesterday, after a meeting with the Ukrainian president, Turkish President Recep Erdogan proposed holding a "peace" summit with the participation of Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected this proposal and invited Turkey to participate in the Global Peace Summit initiated by Ukraine.