Putin refused to meet with the Pope's envoy, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi
This was reported by Reuters, as reported by TSN.
The representative of the Catholic Church intended to discuss with the Russian dictator, among other things, the situation with the kidnapped Russian children from Ukraine.
According to Ukraine's estimates, 19,500 children were illegally deported from the territories occupied by Russia. Russia rejects these accusations, claiming that it only evacuated children who were in danger from the conflict zones.
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Putin instructed his advisor on foreign affairs, 76-year-old Yuri Ushakov, to discuss the situation related to Ukraine with the envoy of Pope Francis.
At the same time, Peskov stated that Russia "highly appreciates" the efforts and initiatives of the Vatican regarding the peaceful settlement of the "crisis in Ukraine".
Three weeks ago, Matteo Zuppi, who is the Archbishop of Bologna and the head of the Italian Episcopal Conference, visited Kyiv, where he was received by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the Ukrainian capital, the Vatican envoy also met with religious leaders of the country.
As reported by Reuters, this is the first visit of a high-ranking Vatican official to Moscow since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Cardinal Zuppi also plans to meet with Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who is a loyal ally of Putin and supports the war against Ukraine.
It should be noted that on Tuesday, June 27, the Vatican announced that the main purpose of Zuppi's visit is to encourage a "humanitarian gesture" that could contribute to the cessation of the conflict.