Vatican Ukraine peace mission will take place says Parolin
I am surprised that Kyiv and Moscow said they were not aware of it", said Parolin, replying to journalists on the sidelines of an event on a venerable late Italian bishop, Don Tonino Bello, at Lumsa university in Rome.
Pope Francis on Wednesday greeted the 'foreign minister' of Moscow's Orthodox Patriarch fuelling speculation on a Vatican peace mission for Ukraine he has hinted at but which both Russia and Kyiv have denied all knowledge of.
At the end of the general audience in St Peter's Square, at the moment of the 'baciamano' (hand kissing) on the Vatican parvis, Pope Francis first greeted the Orthodox Metropolitan Antonij of Volokolamsk, president of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Pope immediately kissed Antonij's pectoral cross and exchanged gifts and some jokes with him. In the past Antonij, Hilarion's successor as 'foreign minister' to Patriarch Kirill, was rector of the Church of St Catherine Martyr in Rome, a stone's throw from the Vatican.
Russia "has no knowledge" of a Vatican peace mission for Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by the Tass news agency as saying Tuesday.
The statement came after a Ukrainian presidential office official told CNN Monday he was "not aware" of a peace mission involving the Vatican.
On Sunday Pope Francis said that the Vatican is involved in a peace mission to try to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, details of which have however not been disclosed.
"There is a mission in course now but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it," the pope told reporters during the return flight from Hungary.
"If there are talks, they are taking place without our knowledge," said the Ukrainian official according to CNN reports.