Printed on Mon May 16 2022 8:47:57 AM
Pope wants to go to Moscow to meet Putin
Pope Francis said in a meeting distributed on Tuesday, May 3rd, that he asked for a meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to stop the war in Ukraine but had not received a reply.
The pope also told Italy's Corriere Della Sera newspaper that Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, who has given the war his full-throated backing, "cannot become Putin's altar boy".
Pope Francis, who made a phenomenal visit to the Russian embassy when the war started, told the newspaper that about three weeks into the conflict, he asked the Vatican's top diplomat to send a message to Putin.
He said the message was "that I was ready to go to Moscow. Surely, it was necessary for the Kremlin chief to allow an opening. We have not yet received a response and we are still demanding".
He added: "I fear that Putin cannot, and does not, want to have this meeting as of now. But how can you not stop so much brutality?"
Before the interview, Francis, 85, had not specifically mentioned Russia or Putin publicly since the start of the war on Feb. 24. But he has left little doubt which side he has criticized, using terms such as unjustified aggression and invasion and lamenting atrocities against civilians.
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