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Zelenskyy meets with Pope Francis, gifts Madonna painted on bulletproof vest

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN – MAY 13: (EDITOR NOTE: STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY – NO MERCHANDISING) Pope Francis meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Studio of Paul VI Hall on May 13, 2023 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo by Vatican Media Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
Zelenskyy meets with Pope Francis, gifts Madonna painted on bulletproof vest

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, had a 40-minute conversation with Pope Francis in the Vatican, as reported by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

The Pope, leaning on his cane, met with Zelenskyy who greeted him with a hand on his heart and a bow of his head. An interpreter was present during the 40-minute conversation between Pope Francis and Zelenskyy. Details of the discussions remain undisclosed at this time.

Pope Francis presented President Zelenskyy with a small sculpture of an olive branch, a symbol of peace. In return, the Ukrainian President gifted the Pope with an icon of Madonna, painted on the remnants of a bulletproof vest.

After the meeting with Pope Francis, the Ukrainian President left the Vatican.

Since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022, Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly appealed to the Pope to visit Ukraine. The Pope has stated that he is prepared to make such a visit but only if he can also travel to Moscow to help promote peace.

Finally, on the 444th day of the full-scale war, Zelenskyy visited Pope Francis.

Zelenskyy’s trip comes after intriguing comments by Pope Francis last month, hinting at participation in a peace mission—an initiative that neither Russia nor Ukraine has confirmed.

Earlier in the day, Zelenskyy also met with the President and Prime Minister of Italy in Rome. Following the negotiations with Zelenskyy, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni promised to provide full support for Kyiv’s entry into the EU, particularly by assisting in the area of reforms. Meloni also expressed confidence in Ukraine’s victory in the war against Russia, stating that Rome will continue to work with allies to provide further military support to Kyiv.

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