Pope Francis said the Vatican was participating in a peace mission to try to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and declined to give details.
“I am ready to do whatever needs to be done,” the pope told reporters on Sunday on his return trip from a three-day visit to Hungary.
I think peace is always made by opening channels. You can never make peace by being locked up…it’s not easy. »
The Pope added that he discussed the situation in Ukraine with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and with Archbishop Hilarion, the bishop who represents the Russian Orthodox Church in Budapest.
“In these meetings, we didn’t just talk about Little Red Riding Hood. We talked about all these things. Everyone is interested in the path to peace.”
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Pope Francis has called for peace almost every week, repeatedly expressing his desire to act as a mediator between Kiev and Moscow. His bid has so far failed.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met the Pope at the Vatican on Thursday and said he discussed a “formula for peace” proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He said he had also invited the Pope to visit Kiev.
Pope Francis, 86, had said earlier that he wanted to visit Kiev and Moscow on a peace mission.
Four other neighborhoods in Bakhmut
Pope’s announcement comes hours after Moscow claimed its forces had captured four more urban neighborhoods in the front-line Ukrainian town of Bakhmut.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that units of its airborne forces surrounded Ukrainian forces on the northern and southern outskirts of the city.
Ukraine did not immediately respond to the allegations.
Russian forces have been trying for months to take control of Bakhmut, the transportation and logistics hub in Ukraine’s Donetsk Province, part of the largely Russian-speaking industrial Donbass region.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions uprooted and entire cities flattened during the war in Ukraine.