Vatican refutes claims that Pope planning visit to Russia — RT World News

Vatican refutes claims that Pope planning visit to Russia — RT World News

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French outlet Intelligence Online has said the pontiff is in talks about a potential trip to Moscow

Pope Francis has not received an invitation to visit Russia and is not planning any such trip, the Vatican told RIA Novosti on Wednesday. The rebuttal follows claims in the French media this week that the pontiff could travel to Moscow to mediate in the Ukraine conflict.

The Pope has repeatedly called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and has offered his services as a mediator on several occasions. He also recently called on Kiev to “have the courage of the white flag” and enter into negotiations with Moscow, drawing a barrage of criticism from the West.

On Tuesday, France’s Intelligence Online – which describes itself as an independent media outlet focused on “exclusive” reporting – claimed that the Pope is planning to visit Moscow in June, and that the Vatican is already holding talks with Russian diplomats on the issue.

Speaking to RIA Novosti on Wednesday, the Vatican said the report “does not reflect the actual situation.” A source for the Russian news agency also denied any plans for a papal visit to Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, has not commented on the report.

In May 2023, the Vatican sought to ease the tensions between Russia and Ukraine through a mission led by Cardinal Matteo Zuppi. He visited Kiev, Moscow, Washington, and Beijing, although the results of the mission remain unclear.

Earlier this month, the Pope called on Kiev to have “the courage to negotiate,” adding that this also meant “the courage of not leading the country to suicide.” Any government should think about its people and ask itself how many deaths it must take for a conflict to end, Francis stated.

Ukraine promptly rejected the appeal. Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba insisted that Ukraine “shall never raise any other flags” apart from its national standard. The Pope’s comments were also criticized by the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

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