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Pope says plans to visit Kyiv

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Pope Francis said on Saturday that an upcoming visit to Ukraine, at the invitation of President Volodymyr Zelensky, was “on the table”. Asked by the press on the plane that took him from Rome to Malta about the possibility of a trip to Ukraine, the sovereign pontiff replied: “Yes, it is on the table”, without further details.

Pope Francis said on Saturday that an upcoming visit to Ukraine, at the invitation of President Volodymyr Zelensky, was “on the table”. Asked by the press on the plane that took him from Rome to Malta about the possibility of a trip to Ukraine, the sovereign pontiff replied: “Yes, it is on the table”, without further details.

“Show compassion” to the Ukrainian people

Fran√ßois, 85, was invited last month by Volodymyr Zelensky to play the role of mediator in the negotiations between kyiv and Moscow and to go to his country invaded at the end of February by Russian troops. He was also invited by the mayor of kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, in order to “show his compassion” with the Ukrainian people.

Traveling to the Mediterranean archipelago of Malta, the pope did not mince words on Saturday morning in a speech delivered in Valletta to Maltese President George Vella and the diplomatic corps. He castigated the actions of “some powerful” driven by “nationalist interests”, in a clear allusion to Russian President Vladimir Putin, without however naming him.

Threat of a “Cold War that suffocates the life of peoples and generations”

He also denounced “the seductions of autocracy” and “the new imperialisms” which threaten the world with an “extensive Cold War which could suffocate the life of peoples and generations”. A predominantly Orthodox country, Ukraine has a large Greek-Catholic minority attached to the Vatican, which is concentrated in the west of the country.

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Third Church in Ukraine, this Catholic denomination of Eastern rite claims some 5.5 million faithful in this former Soviet republic.

Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine was populated by more than 37 million people in the territories controlled by kyiv – which therefore does not include the Crimea (South) annexed in 2014 by Russia, nor the eastern areas under the control of pro-Russian separatists since the same year.

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