The Vatican is involved in a peacekeeping effort to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Pope Francis said, without giving further details.
“We will gladly do whatever is necessary. The mission is ongoing, but it is not yet open to the public. When it becomes public, we will reveal it,” the Pope said on Sunday after a three-day visit to Hungary.
“I think peace is always created by opening channels. Peace can never be achieved through closure…it’s not easy.
“At these meetings, we didn’t just talk about Little Red Riding Hood.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Pope Francis has made peace pleas virtually weekly, reiterating his desire to act as a mediator between Kiev and Moscow. I’ve been His offer so far has not resulted in a breakthrough.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmykhal said he met with the Pope at the Vatican on Thursday to discuss a “peace formula” proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He also said he invited the Pope to Kiev.
Pope Francis, 86, has previously said he would like to visit Moscow as well as Kiev as part of a peacekeeping operation.
The pope’s announcement came hours after Moscow claimed Russian forces had captured four more districts of the Ukrainian frontline town of Bakhmut.
The Russian Defense Ministry said paratroopers had detained Ukrainian troops in the northern and southern outskirts of the city.
Ukraine did not immediately react to this allegation. Russian forces have been trying for months to seize Bakhmut, a transport and logistics hub in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, part of the predominantly Russian-speaking industrialized Donbass region.
During the war in Ukraine, tens of thousands were killed, millions were displaced, and entire cities were leveled.