Pope Francis’ peace envoy heads to Ukraine
VATICAN CITY — Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi headed to Kiev Monday as Pope Francis’ peace envoy for two-day talks with the Ukrainian authorities on the war with Russia, the Vatican said.
Zuppi, the head of the Italian bishops’ conference, “will pay a visit to Kyiv as Envoy of the Holy Father” from June 5 to 6, it said in a statement.
“The main purpose of this initiative is to listen in depth to the Ukrainian authorities about possible ways to achieve a just peace and support gestures of humanity that contribute to easing tensions,” it said.
The Vatican said in May that Francis had asked Zuppi to lead a peace mission to try and “help ease tensions in the conflict in Ukraine”.
The move came “in the hope, which the Holy Father has never given up, that this can initiate paths of peace,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said at the time.
Francis first spoke of a possible mission on his return from a trip to Hungary in April, though gave no details.
Zuppi, 67, was elected head of the Italian Episcopal Conference last year, and hails from the Sant’Egidio Catholic Community, which specializes in diplomacy and peace efforts.