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Ukraine’s Ambassador to discuss “fundamental points” with Pope Francis

Pope Francis has faced criticism for suggesting that Ukraine should raise the ‘white flag’ and negotiate with Russia to end the war.
Ukraine's Ambassador to discuss "fundamental points" with Pope Francis
Andriy Yurash and Pope Francis. Photo: Andriy Yurash via X/Twitter
Ukraine’s Ambassador to discuss “fundamental points” with Pope Francis

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the Vatican, Andriy Yurash, will meet with Pope Francis in the near future to convey several “fundamental points for Ukraine,” Yurash told Radio Svoboda.

“Appeals should be directed not at Ukraine, but at Russia. Ukraine is the victim. Ukraine cannot under any circumstances accept the model of raising the white flag – because it is a matter of life and death,” said Yurash.

He added that Ukraine constantly works towards inviting the Pope to Ukraine, and the recent statements reflect the pontiff’s personal views, not the Vatican’s position.

Pope Francis has faced intense criticism over his comments, suggesting that Ukraine should have what he called the courage of the “white flag” to negotiate an end to the war with Russia. The head of the Catholic Church made the remarks in an interview recorded last month with Swiss broadcaster RSI, but partially released on Saturday.

“I think that the strongest one is the one who looks at the situation, thinks about the people and has the courage of the white flag, and negotiates,” Francis said, urging Ukraine not to be ashamed to negotiate.

The Pope’s remarks have sparked widespread condemnation from Ukraine and its allies, with many interpreting them as a call for Ukraine to surrender.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has stated that Kyiv will not raise any flag other than its national one.

“Our flag is a yellow and blue one. This is the flag by which we live, die, and prevail. We shall never raise any other flags,” wrote Kuleba on X/Twitter. 

German politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chair of the German parliament’s defense committee, expressed her shame as a Catholic.

“Before the Ukrainian victims raise the white flag, the Pope should loudly and unmistakably call on the brutal Russian perpetrators to take down their pirate flag — the symbol of death and Satan,” said Strack-Zimmermann.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski echoed this sentiment.

“How about, for balance, encouraging Putin to have the courage to withdraw his army from Ukraine? Peace would immediately ensue without the need for negotiations,” he wrote on X/Twitter.

In an attempt to clarify the Pope’s comments, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni explained that the journalist interviewing Francis used the term “white flag,” prompting the Pope to use it in his answer.

Bruni emphasized that the Pope supports a “diplomatic solution for a just and lasting peace” and that negotiation does not equate to surrender.

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