War in Ukraine: President Zelensky in Vatican to meet Pope Francis
Steph Deschamps / May 16, 2023
The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky arrived Saturday afternoon at the Vatican where he was received in audience by Pope Francis, fervent defender of peace in this country, noted a journalist of the AFP.
The 86-year-old pope, who already welcomed Mr. Zelensky to the Vatican in February 2020, has repeatedly called for peace in Ukraine, as he did again on Saturday when he stressed to ambassadors that the war was bringing "untold suffering and death.
Mr. Zelensky was received by the Pope after meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and the head of government Giorgia Meloni who reiterated the full support of the peninsula to Kiev in its fight against Russian aggression.
The Ukrainian president thanked Italy for its help "to save lives". "Everything we do, we do together. And this protects our Ukrainian families, children, the homes of our civilians and the lives of our soldiers," he told Meloni before the press.
I did not come to complain, I came to talk about our cooperation and thank you once again for your help, for the sake of our country because we want peace, "said the Ukrainian president.
"Italy has done an important thing by strengthening its energy independence from Russia. This deprives the terrorist state of the possibility of putting pressure on you," he added.
"You are very strong, there is no way to manipulate you, this is very important," he said to Ms. Meloni.
I am convinced that Ukraine will win and will be reborn stronger, prouder and more prosperous", replied the head of the Italian government.
We will continue to ensure our full support to facilitate the gradual integration of Kiev into the European Union (...) we are ready to support a further intensification of the partnership with NATO," added Ms. Meloni.
Mr. Zelensky must, after his Italian stage, go to Germany on Sunday, while Berlin has just announced a major military aid of 2.7 billion euros.