Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a private conversation with Pope Francis Saturday at the Vatican, where the two discussed plans to end the war with Russia.
Zelensky said that he sought support for his peace plan from the head of the Catholic Church.
The pontiff previously said that the Vatican is prepared to act as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine.
“I also talked about our Peace Formula as the only effective algorithm for achieving a just peace,″ Zelensky said following the meeting.
In an interview on Italian state TV, Zelensky said the pontiff ”knows my position. The war is in Ukraine, that is why it has to be Ukraine’s plan” to bring peace.
The 10-point plan Zelensky has suggested would establish a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes, create a European-Atlantic security structure with guarantees for Ukraine and restore Ukraine’s damaged power infrastructure.
The plan also calls to ensure safety around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia.
The Holy See, the government of the Catholic Church, said in a statement that the Pope and Zelensky “discussed the humanitarian and political situation in Ukraine caused by the ongoing war” in a meeting that lasted approximately 40 minutes.
The pair also “both agreed on the need to continue humanitarian efforts to support the population,” according to the statement.
After the meeting, Zelensky thanked Francis on Twitter for “his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians.”
He went on to say that he also spoke with the pontiff “about the tens of thousands of deported (Ukrainian) children. We must make every effort to return them home.”
The sit-down came after Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal asked the pope to aid in efforts to return children from Russia to Ukraine, although the Vatican’s statement does not mention to request for help.
Instead, the Vatican said the pair discussed the political and humanitarian situation in Ukraine.
“The pope underlined in particular the urgent need for ‘humanitarian gestures’ toward the most fragile persons, innocent victims of the conflict,” the statement said.
Before meeting with the pope, Zelensky met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who alongside other Italian officials pledged open-ended military and financial support for Ukraine.
“The message is clear and simple,” Meloni told reporters after the meeting. “The future of Ukraine is a future of peace and freedom. And it’s the future of Europe, a future of peace and freedom, for which there are no other possible solutions.″
Zelensky also sat down with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who also pledged support for Ukraine.
Italy has already contributed about $1.1 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the war began last February.
With Post Wires