Pope Francis and Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed release of all Ukrainians illegally detained in the occupied part of Donbas, in Crimea and in Russia
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a phone conversation with His Holiness Pope Francis to develop the dialogue initiated during the official visit of the President of Ukraine to Vatican City State on February 8, 2020.
The parties discussed today's crisis situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, first of all the humanitarian challenges facing the world. Pope Francis noted that he appreciates Ukraine's desire for solidarity.
"The support of Your Holiness in the issue of unity, solidarity and openness of Europe is important for Ukraine. It is important to work now to restore mutual trust and strengthen cooperation on the continent," the President said.
The President of Ukraine informed Pope Francis about the successful measures taken by Ukraine during quarantine, in particular about the online format of children's education in schools. The good example of some Ukrainian churches in supporting the government's quarantine restrictions was also noted.
The President informed His Holiness about the security situation in Donbas and appealed to the Holy See for assistance in the release of all Ukrainians illegally detained in the occupied part of Donbas, in the occupied Crimea and in Russia.
"We are looking for a solution to move forward in a peaceful settlement. Ukraine will not violate the "red lines" regarding its own security, sovereignty and territorial integrity," Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.
His Holiness thanked the President of Ukraine for his attempts to achieve a peaceful settlement, and also noted that he was dealing with the issue of the release of Ukrainian serviceman Vitalii Markiv. In addition, the pontiff asked Volodymyr Zelenskyy to convey greetings to the Ukrainian people, to whom the Pope feels close in his heart.
The interlocutors discussed bilateral cooperation in the humanitarian sphere. It was agreed to strengthen cooperation in health and environmental protection and to implement joint initiatives in this direction.
The President reiterated the invitation to Pope Francis to make a visit to Ukraine.
His Holiness stressed that he appreciated the efforts of Volodymyr Zelenskyy to end the war and achieve peace in Donbas.