10 Mar 2023 16:26

Pope says ready to talk with Putin to settle Ukraine situation

ROME. March 10 (Interfax) - Pope Francis said he is still ready for contacts with the Russian leadership to settle the Ukraine crisis.

"I would talk to him, clearly stating my ideas, like I do in public. He is an educated man," he said in an interview with the Corierre della Sera newspaper and other Italian media, responding to a question on how the pontiff would talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin if the talks were held now.

"On the second day of the military action, I visited the Russian embassy in the Vatican to say I was ready to visit Moscow on condition that Putin keeps a 'window' for me for talks on a settlement. Lavrov wrote to me in response, he expressed appreciation, but said the moment for talks had not come yet. Putin knows that I am at his disposal [for participation in the negotiation process]," Pope Francis said.

The pope said he believes the conflict in Ukraine can be considered global in a certain sense. "All large powers are involved there. Ukraine is a battlefield. All parties are fighting there," he said.

The pope said he believes Ukraine is a place where "imperial interests have clashed, and not only Russian, but also those of other parties."

The pope said he is concerned about military conflicts worldwide, in particular, in Syria and Yemen.

"Why must they suffer? Wars hurt. There is no spirit of God in them, and I don't believe in holy wars," he said.