Media: Cardinal Matteo Zuppi might play a role in returning Ukrainian children forcibly taken to Russia
Political commentator Paolo Mieli expressed this opinion on September 17 in "Corriere della Sera," as reported by CREDO.
"We are confident that the image of thousands of children returned to their families through the efforts of Pope Francis will enter history textbooks," the commentator wrote.
He noted that such a breakthrough would be a historic achievement of papal diplomacy.
Paolo Mieli reacted to recent statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, suggesting that Cardinal Zuppi would return to Moscow soon.
"Labor continues on Vatican's side, whose envoy is expected to return," Lavrov said during a roundtable with ambassadors from 35 countries in Moscow on Friday. "We are ready to meet with everyone. We are ready to talk to everyone."
The fact that Lavrov made this statement personally led many to interpret it as a hint that if Zuppi returns to Moscow, this time, he will meet directly with Lavrov and other high-ranking officials.
Recall that in June, Cardinal Zuppi already visited Russia as part of the papal peace mission. During that visit, he met with Putin's advisor on foreign policy, Patriarch Kirill, and the controversial children's ombudsman involved in the illegal removal of Ukrainian children, against whom the International Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant.
Observers recently saw this last meeting as a sign that Moscow may consider the possibility of returning at least some of the children home. Mieli suggested that Zuppi may have received certain commitments from the Russian authorities.
"It seems that Zuppi has been given a promise to return some of the abducted children to Ukraine, although it is unknown how many," Mieli wrote. "Of course, this commitment must be sanctioned by Putin."
Mieli also noted that the "Avvenire" commentator, the official newspaper of the Italian Bishops' Conference, recently wrote that the "tapestry of peace," which the Pope's envoy has patiently woven for over two months, "is beginning to bear fruit." Although this comment was made in response to Zuppi's visit to Beijing, Mieli interpreted it as an indication of an imminent breakthrough in relations with Russia.
"If 'Avvenire' writes about growth, it is quite likely that this time Zuppi will return these children home—or at least some of them," he wrote.
Such an outcome, as Mieli noted, would be a significant diplomatic achievement. On the other hand, he pointed out that the absence of any concrete results could lead to a negative reaction.
"If the meeting between Zuppi and Lavrov ends in nothing more than a conversation, however well-intentioned, disappointment will be significant... really, very significant," he wrote.
It should be recalled that in August, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada, Dmytro Lubinets, officially confirmed that active work is currently underway to return Ukrainian children forcibly taken to Russia, with the participation of the Vatican. According to him, concrete results of this cooperation.