Pope Francis said he was “ready to go to Moscow to see Russian President Vladimir Putin and try to stop the fighting in Ukraine”.
In an interview with the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera published on Tuesday, the pope said he “called on the phone” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “on the first day of the war” but he “did not contact Putin”.
“Subsequently, after 20 days of war, I asked Cardinal (Pietro) Parolin”, number two of the Vatican, “to send Putin the message that I was ready to go to Moscow”, a- he continued.
“We have not yet received a response and we are still insisting, although I am afraid that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting now,” Pope Francis added.
The sovereign pontiff has also ruled out going to kyiv for the moment, despite invitations from the Ukrainians.
“I have to go first to Moscow, I have to meet Putin first,” assured Pope Francis, who has multiplied calls for an end to the fighting in Ukraine.