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“Capitulation is not peace”: Stoltenberg counters Pope’s remarks; more leaders critique Pontiff’s call for Ukraine’s surrender (updated)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg rejects Pope Francis’ call for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia, emphasizing that capitulation is not peace and urging continued military support for Ukraine against Russian aggression.
Stoltenberg warns NATO: brace for decades-Long Russia standoff
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Jens Stoltenberg via X/Twitter
“Capitulation is not peace”: Stoltenberg counters Pope’s remarks; more leaders critique Pontiff’s call for Ukraine’s surrender (updated)

NATO rejects Pope Francis’ call for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, while Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is against Ukraine’s “capitulation,” the German news site NTV reports.

Earlier, in his interview with a Swiss news wire, Pope Francis called on Ukraine to have the “courage to negotiate” and raise “the white flag” and claimed that “Negotiating is never a surrender. It is the courage not to lead the country to suicide,” implying, that Russia is going to win in Ukraine and Ukraine should capitulate as soon as possible.

“Capitulation is not peace,” said Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, without mentioning Pope Francis by name.

Stoltenberg went on to say:

“President Putin started this war and he could end it today. Ukraine, on the other hand, does not have this option.”

The NATO Secretary General called on all allies to continue to support Ukraine militarily.

Earlier, Ukraine slammed Pope Francis’ comments, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejecting the Pontiff’s suggestion that Ukraine should raise the “white flag” and negotiate an end to Russia’s invasion, saying:

“Russian murderers and torture chambers are not in Europe only because they are being held back by Ukrainians under the blue and yellow flag,” said Zelenskyy, not mentioning the Pope directly.

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,” Kuleba said.

Update:

Poland and Latvia schooling the Pontiff about good and evil

Commenting on the Pontiff’s idea, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said:

“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.

Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs suggested fighting evil until it capitulates:

“My Sunday morning take: One must not capitulate in face of evil, one must fight it and defeat it, so that the evil raises the white flag and capitulates,” he wrote on X, without mentioning the Pope directly.

Russia unsurprisingly supports the Pope’s call for capitulation

Russia claimed that Pope Francis’ comment about “having the courage to raise the white flag” in Ukraine was directed towards the West rather than Kyiv. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told ANSA that the Pope was urging the West to “put aside its ambitions and admit that it was wrong.”

She further falsely claimed that Russia “never blocked negotiations” for peace in Ukraine, despite Russia consistently demanding nothing less than Ukraine’s capitulation.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated Zakharova’s narrative that Moscow favors negotiations:

It is quite understandable that he [the Pope] spoke in favor of negotiations,” he told reporters, saying that President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly stated Russia was open to peace talks.

Germany doesn’t get Francis’ stance

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock expressed strong criticism of Pope Francis’s call for Ukraine to negotiate with Moscow, stating that she didn’t “understand” his stance.

Baerbock emphasized the importance of showing strength and standing by Ukraine, highlighting that if Ukraine and its allies “don’t show strength now, there will be no peace.”

Baerbock, who has travelled to Kyiv several times since the start of the war, called for unwavering support for Ukraine’s defense.

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