6 Jun 2019 13:29

Putin's visit to Rome, meeting with Pope Francis being prepared - Peskov

MOSCOW. June 6 (Interfax) - Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has confirmed preparations for Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Rome and the Vatican, where a meeting with Pope Francis is pending.

"It is true that Putin's trip and contacts in Rome are being prepared. He is due to have an audience with the pontiff as part of the visit. Technicalities are being addressed. We will make a relevant statement later," Peskov told the press on Thursday.

As to whether a potential visit of the Pope to Russia is under consideration, Peskov said, "No. For now, Putin's visit to the Vatican is being discussed. You're being overhasty."

The Italian news agency ANSA said on Thursday that Pope Francis was due to receive Putin in the Vatican on July 4.

Putin and Pope Francis have met twice, including four years ago, on June 10, 2015, when the president discussed key global problems and bilateral relations with the pontiff. Before that they met in November 2013.

Presidential aide Yury Ushakov said earlier that Putin was planning to visit Italy in the middle of summer.

Meanwhile, Italian Ambassador to Russia Pasquale Terracciano said Italy was expecting Putin to pay a visit in July.