The head of the UGCC announced the readiness of the Apostolic capital to mediate negotiations between Ukraine and Russia
His Beatitude Sviatoslav said that the situation in Ukraine and the war were one of the topics of conversation with the Pope.
"I have good news from the Vatican," the head of the UGCC said. "Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis about Ukraine in person. He is deeply concerned about the fate of Ukrainians in the occupation – those people who may not be fully heard today."
"The Holy Father was sincerely interested in how the Ukrainian people live and he is deeply concerned about it. We expect that his visit to Ukraine will take place next year. The visit itself has not yet been announced, but we are already living in anticipation and preparation. And this is a very strong signal that the Pope is thinking about how, when and with what to come to us, it is a powerful signal of support for our people and our state. I told him that there is a common feeling among many of our people of different churches and religions: when the Pope comes to Ukraine, the war will end. I heard something similar from an older woman 20 years ago, when Pope John Paul II arrived in Ukraine. That woman went through more than one circle of communist hell and said to me: "if the pope sets foot on Ukrainian soil, Communism will not return." This is a very deep belief, as they say: "Vox populi, vox Dei". Pope Francis deeply feels and experiences personally what is happening today in Ukraine and with the Ukrainian people, our pains and fears."
His Beatitude Sviatoslav explained the peculiarities of Vatican diplomacy, the basis of which is to be a mediator, a bridge for agreements between the parties that are ready to negotiate. However, today, as in all 8 years of the war, there is no such readiness on the part of Russia.
"We would like the Holy See to make clearer statements about this aggression against Ukraine, but Vatican diplomacy differs from other secular diplomacies precisely in that it considers the mission of mediation to be its mission. And so, perhaps, it does not speak sharply about anyone, so that it can be a bridge of dialogue and mediation between all. In our case, the Holy See is ready for such mediation. Perhaps you recall a certain unexpected statement by Mr. President Zelensky regarding the mediation of the Vatican? After that, the Holy Father said: "Yes, we are ready. But there is one condition for this: both sides must agree to it." And what do we have for today? The Ukrainian side, in principle, is ready, but the Russian side is not. We heard something similar when Turkey announced that it could be a mediator, and there was also a clear refusal. Why? Because Russia continues to claim that it is not a party to the conflict, and therefore no one needs to be a mediator between Ukraine and Russia, but only a mediator between Ukraine and the so-called DPR-LPR. That is, the diplomatic mechanism of this mediation itself, and, consequently, its ultimate goal, is understood quite differently. We feel both understanding and support from the Apostolic capital."
This support for Ukraine has been provided by Pope Francis throughout all the years of military aggression, in particular when the world has stopped noticing this war. We are talking about humanitarian assistance and overcoming the information blockade in this matter.
"Many steps have been taken to jointly overcome the consequences of this war and carry out humanitarian actions to help victims of it," the head of the UGCC stressed. – Let us recall the "Pope for Ukraine" initiative: it may not have been so significant from a material point of view, but it was a colossal mobilization of Western European attention to the needs of Ukraine... That is, with one gesture, the Pope broke the taboo on talking about the war in Ukraine. Through our channels, we provided all the information, along with photos that were posted in all Catholic parishes in Germany, France, and Italy. You can imagine what powerful support this was for our state. Also, when the Holy Father's visit to Ukraine is announced, the attention of the entire ecumenical Church will be focused on our state. Yes, while this visit is still underway, it will be strong support and solidarity with our state and our people."