Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Ukraine PM invites pope to visit, urges help with deported children

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Thursday invited Pope Francis to visit his country, during a meeting at the Vatican.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said he and Pope Francis discussed Kyiv's peace plan
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said he and Pope Francis discussed Kyiv's peace plan - Copyright AFP/File Genya SAVILOV, Vladimir ASTAPKOVICH, Gavriil GRIGOROV
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said he and Pope Francis discussed Kyiv's peace plan - Copyright AFP/File Genya SAVILOV, Vladimir ASTAPKOVICH, Gavriil GRIGOROV

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Thursday invited Pope Francis to visit his country, during a meeting at the Vatican, where he also asked for help to return children forcibly taken to Russia.

“I invited His Holiness to visit Ukraine in person,” Shmyhal told reporters at the Foreign Press Association in Rome a few hours after the papal audience.

He said he had discussed with the 86-year-old pope the peace plan proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to end the war sparked by Russia’s invasion last year.

This included “discussing in a little more detail the different steps the Vatican could take” to help Kyiv achieve its goals, the prime minister said, speaking through an Italian translator.

“For example, I asked for the participation, the assistance from the Vatican, from His Holiness, for the return to Ukraine of children, some of whom were orphaned, who were taken away by force, mainly to Russia.”

More than 16,000 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia since the February 2022 invasion, according to Kyiv, with many allegedly placed in institutions and foster homes.

Russia denies the allegations, saying instead it has saved Ukrainian children from the horrors of the war.

In March, the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.

Shmyhal also met two of the pope’s top officials at the Vatican, Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and the de facto foreign minister, Paul Gallagher.

“During the cordial discussions, which took place in the Secretariat of State, various matters connected to the war in Ukraine were highlighted, with particular attention to the humanitarian aspects and efforts to restore peace,” a Vatican statement said.

“In the same context, several issues regarding the life and activity of the Church in the country were raised.”

Francis has repeatedly called for peace in Ukraine, although the Vatican’s attempts to mediate in the conflict have yet to yield any results.

The Ukrainian government said that during his visit Shmyhal gave the pope a ceramic rooster that has become a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance during the war, and a photography book of atrocities allegedly committed by Russia in various Ukrainian cities, including Bucha.

Shmyhal was in Rome for a conference Wednesday on how Italian businesses could help with the reconstruction of Ukraine, when he also met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

AFP
Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

Entertainment

On Saturday, July 20, "Story Time" with actor and musician Marcus Coloma ("General Hospital" fame) took place at Michiko Studios in New York City.

World

While 98 percent of births are registered in Europe, the number stands at just 44 percent in Africa - Copyright AFP -Soulé DIAIt was...

World

US President Joe Biden announced Sunday that he was dropping out of his reelection battle with Donald Trump.

Entertainment

Cameron Mathison catches us up on "General Hospital," hosting the new game show "Beat the Bridge," and his latest endeavors with the Great American...