30 Jun 2023 15:26

Russian presidential aide sees Vatican's readiness to contribute more to Ukraine settlement at Cardinal Zuppi meeting

MOSCOW. June 30 (Interfax) - Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov has called his meeting with the Pope's special envoy Cardinal Matteo Zuppi in Moscow useful, and noted the Vatican's readiness to make a bigger contribution to searching for ways to reach a settlement in Ukraine.

"We had a useful exchange of views. We discussed the situation around the Ukraine conflict. [...] The mission of Cardinal Matteo Zuppi indicates that the Vatican would like to intensify its contribution to a possible settlement in Ukraine," Ushakov said in an interview with Interfax on Friday.

"No specific ideas were put forward, but it was clearly suggested that the Vatican sees a logical field for its efforts. These are humanitarian affairs, an exchange of detained civilians, issues related to the relocation of children, and other matters of this kind," Ushakov said.

The papal envoy "demonstrated the aspiration - and this is very important - to depoliticize all humanitarian affairs, and expressed a sincere wish to help people in distress. We support such sentiments of the papal representative in principle," he said.

Ushakov said he noted at the meeting that Moscow "appreciates the balanced and impartial stance of the Vatican [on the situation in Ukraine]." He also said that "the discussion was useful for both sides."

Ushakov said the cardinal told him about his recent trip to Kiev in early June and "the nature of [his] contacts with Zelensky and his team."

"In turn, I briefed him on the recent negotiations with a group of African leaders in St. Petersburg, where they suggested possible ways of settling the Ukrainian crisis. I also said that additional meetings with African leaders on this subject were scheduled for July 27-28, on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg," Ushakov said.

"Of course, I also conveyed Moscow's fundamental approach to Ukrainian matters and our arguments regarding the causes of the events unfolding in Ukraine," he said.