Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with Pope Francis and Italy’s prime minister in diplomatic tour

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Pope Francis and Italy’s prime minister on Saturday May 13 as part of a diplomatic tour also involving Germany, as Berlin unveiled a huge new weapons package ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Zelenskyy’s visit comes two weeks after the pope told reporters that he is engaged in a secret mission to end Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Since the start of the war on February 24, 2022, Zelenskyy has made regular appeals for the pope to visit the war-torn country.

The pope has said he will visit Kyiv but only if he could travel to Moscow, as well, to make an appeal for peace.

Upon his arrival at the Vatican, Zelenskyy greeted the Pope at the door of the Vatican’s Pope Paul VI Hall, rather than the Apostolic Palace, which is traditionally used for meetings with heads of state.

‘Thank you for this visit,’ the pope said to Zelenskyy in Italian. ‘A great honor,’ Zelenskyy replied in English, placing his hand over his heart.

The pope and the president met for 40 minutes behind closed doors, with Zelenskyy giving the pope a bullet-dented plate and a poster in the style of an icon titled ‘Loss.’

The image memorialized the lives of children who died in the early days of the conflict.

In a tweet, Zelenskyy emphasized that he asked the pope to condemn Russian war crimes, writing that ‘there can be no equality between the victim and the aggressor.’

He also said that he asked the Vatican to back Ukraine’s peace formula, which includes the withdrawal of Russian forces from the country, a restoration of all of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, Russian war reparations and postwar security guarantees for Ukraine.

The Ukraine leader also visited Italy. He was greeted at a military airfield at Rome’s Ciampino airport by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.

‘We reaffirm our support for the Ukrainian people in defending freedom and democracy,’ Tajani said.

‘An important visit for (the) approaching victory of Ukraine!’ Zelensky tweeted as he arrived in Rome, on his first visit to EU and NATO member Italy since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

There was a heavy security presence in Rome for Zelensky’s visit, which began with a formal welcome by President Sergio Mattarella, followed by a 70-minute face-to-face with Meloni.

‘I have not come to complain, I have come to talk about our cooperation and to thank you once again for helping us, for the sake of our country, because we want peace,’ he said.

Zelenskyy is reportedly expected to head to Berlin after Italy, upon the invitation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, where the defence ministry earlier Saturday announced a new weapons package worth 2.7 billion euros ($2.95 billion) for Ukraine.

Also Saturday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed that Berlin has approved a new €2.7 billion package of weapons for Ukraine.

‘We all wish for a speedy end to this terrible and illegal war,’ Pistorius said. ‘Unfortunately, this is not yet foreseeable.’

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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