Pope Francis does not rule out traveling to kyiv

Pope Francis in Hal Far, Malta, April 3, 2022.

The war in Ukraine cast its shadow over Pope Francis’ two-day visit to Malta on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 April, the initial focus of which was the plight of some migrants from Africa and Asia who strike at the gateway to Europe after crossing the Mediterranean. Visibly hampered by acute knee pain and a throbbing hip, the slow and limping step, forced to sit in his popemobile and access the plane by elevator, the head of the Catholic Church has made up with this news .

On the plane home on Sunday, François declared that he was “willing to do everything possible” in favor of peace. He confirmed that he was not ruling out traveling to Kyiv, as he had reported the day before, although he seemed to question the feasibility of that option. ” I’m available. I said it’s on the table”he said at a press conference, before adding: “That’s one of the possibilities. But I don’t know if it will be possible, if it will be profitable, or if it should be done. It’s all in the air. » The mayor of kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, sent him an invitation to visit the besieged capital, an invitation supported by the president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

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The head of the Catholic Church seemed more doubtful about the other hypothesis mentioned, in particular, by the Polish President, Andrzej Duda, whom he had received on Friday at the Vatican. It would consist of going to Poland, on the Ukrainian border, where many refugees have arrived since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.

On the other hand, he confirmed that the Vatican was still working on the possibility of a new meeting with Patriarch Kirill; the head of the Russian Orthodox Church supported the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow, seeing in this military offensive a large-scale operation “metaphysics” delivered against ” the forces of evil “. “We are working on it”specified the pope, according to whom such a meeting could be held “in the Middle East”. A tete-a-tete took place between the two religious leaders in 2016, the first in history.

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The conflict left its mark on the entire papal visit to Malta. Sunday, during the Angelus, in Valletta, Francis denounced a “sacrilegious war” in a Ukraine “martyred”. At the entrance to the Jean-XXIII Peace Laboratory, a center welcoming and accompanying migrants who have arrived mostly from Africa, located in Hal Far, on the south shore of the island, where he went, a fifty Ukrainians were waiting for him, chanting: “Close the Ukrainian sky”, “Protect our children”.

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