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Vatican clarified Pope's controversial statement on Ukraine-Russia peace talks

Vatican clarified Pope's controversial statement on Ukraine-Russia peace talks Photo: Pope Francis (Getty Images)

The head of the Vatican's press office, Matteo Bruni, commented on the Pope's resonant statement about the "white flag" and the need for peaceful negotiations with Russia. In the Vatican office, it was emphasized that the Pope did not mean the capitulation of Kyiv but rather a call for dialogue through negotiations, according to Vatican News.

According to Bruni, in an interview with a Swiss television channel, Pope Francis adopted the metaphor of the "white flag" proposed by the journalist to signify the cessation of military actions, a ceasefire that should be achieved through the courage to engage in negotiations.

In another part of the interview, addressing a different situation but considering every wartime scenario, the Pontiff clearly stated, "Negotiations are never a surrender."

The head of the press office also noted that the Pope reiterated his deep affection for the Ukrainian people and called on all parties to "create the conditions for a diplomatic solution in search of a just and lasting peace."

Resonant statement by the Pope

In February, Pope Francis gave an interview to the Swiss television channel RSI, scheduled to be released on March 20. However, Reuters intercepted and published the recording of the pontiff's conversation.

In the interview, Pope Francis was asked for his position on a debate between those who say Ukraine should give up as it has not been able to repel the Russian army, and those who say doing so would legitimize actions by the strongest party. The interviewer used the term "white flag" in the question

Pope Francis responded: "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. And today, negotiations can be conducted with the help of international forces. The word negotiate is a courageous word. When you see that you are defeated, that things are not going well, you have to have the courage to negotiate...".

Position of Pope Francis on the war in Ukraine

In January, Pope Francis stated that he sees a threat in the world forgetting about Russia's war against Ukraine.

Last fall, the head of the Catholic Church declared that the war in Ukraine is advantageous for arms dealers.

In the summer of the past year, Francis caused controversy by praising Russian imperialism in his address to Russian Catholics.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated that Francis's words are ordinary imperialistic propaganda used by the Kremlin to justify the killings of thousands of Ukrainians and the destruction of hundreds of Ukrainian cities and villages.

At that time, the Pontiff acknowledged that his words were poorly formulated.