Kremlin adviser to hold Ukraine talks with Pope’s peace envoy

The Pope's envoy Cardinal Matteo Zuppi is in Moscow for peace talks on the "situation" in Ukraine.

The Pope's envoy Cardinal Matteo Zuppi is in Moscow for peace talks on the "situation" in Ukraine. Photo: AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov will hold talks with the Pope’s peace envoy on the Ukraine conflict in Moscow at Putin’s request, the Kremlin says.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr Ushakov and Cardinal Matteo Zuppi would discuss the “situation around the conflict in Ukraine and, of course, possible paths of political and diplomatic settlement”.

He said Cardinal Zuppi was already in Moscow.

“We highly appreciate the efforts and initiatives of the Vatican to find a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian crisis,” Mr Peskov said.

The Vatican said on Tuesday the main purpose of its initiative was to encourage “humanitarian gestures” that could contribute to resolving the conflict.

Cardinal Zuppi met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian religious leaders in Kyiv on June 6.

The French Catholic newspaper La Croix reported he was expected to meet Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, while in Moscow.

Patriarch Kirill is a close ally of Mr Putin and fully backs what Russia still describes as its “special military operation” in Ukraine, as a bulwark against a “decadent” West.

The Vatican’s mention of “humanitarian gestures” appeared to refer to Ukraine’s request to help with the repatriation of Ukrainian children.

Kyiv estimates almost 19,500 children have been taken illegally to Russia or Russia-annexed Crimea since February 2022.

Russia rejects this, saying it has only evacuated children whose safety was at risk in the conflict zone.

Mr Zelensky has asked the Vatican to back his own peace plan, which calls for the withdrawal of all Russian troops and the restoration of Ukraine’s state borders.


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