7 Nov 2022 11:00

Pontiff says has great affection for both Ukrainian and Russian people

ROME. Nov 7 (Interfax) - Pope of Rome Francis has said he has great affection for both Ukrainian and Russian people.

"I have great affection for the Russian people and I also have great affection for the Ukrainian people," the Vatican News quoted the Pontiff as saying on his flight back from Bahrain on Sunday.

"I have high esteem for the Russian people, for Russian humanism. Just think of Dostoevsky, who to this day inspires us, inspires Christians to think of Christianity," he said.

The Pontiff said he expressed the readiness to visit Russia for talks after the Ukrainian crisis began but Russian Foreign Minister "Lavrov replied very politely - 'Thank you' - [but] that it was not necessary for the moment."

He also said he spoke with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky by phone thrice and the Vatican kept searching for solutions to the Ukrainian crisis.

"And work is being done to get closer, to seek solutions," the Pontiff said.

The Kremlin said earlier it had no objections to the involvement of the United States and Pope Francis in the Ukrainian settlement process but noted the existence of Ukrainian legislation hindering talks with Russia.