- Jul 12, 2020
In a phone conversation with Pope Francis, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed for help in securing the release of Ukrainian citizens being held in areas occupied by Russian or pro-Russian forces.
Pope Francis offered prayers for a summit in France that will seek to bring an end to the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.
Bishop Borys Gudziak, one of nearly 50 Ukrainian Greek Catholic bishops in Rome this week, has said he and his fellow prelates are pushing harder than ever for a papal visit to Ukraine – a trip he said is crucial to ending conflict in the country, but which is being held up by fear of potential reprisal from Russia.
As fighting intensified in eastern Ukraine, the major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church warned against “appeasing the aggressor” in the five-year war against Russian-backed separatists.
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has said that if Pope Francis were to visit Ukraine, the conflict tearing its eastern regions apart would come to an end.
On Thursday Pope Francis met for the third time with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a conversation which inevitably touched on the nation’s ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, however, the Vatican was careful to shine the spotlight on both sides, scheduling a meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church the day after Putin’s visit, giving the conflict much higher visibility.