Pope asks Italian cardinal to carry out peace ‘mission’ on Ukraine war: Vatican

Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, head of the Italian bishops conference, to carry out a peace mission to try to help bring an end to the war in Ukraine, the Vatican said on Saturday.

Francis first spoke cryptically of his intention to launch a mission when he was returning from a trip to Hungary last month but he gave no details.

According to a Vatican diplomatic source, the plan would be for Zuppi to try to meet separately with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Vatican said in a statement that Zuppi, 67, would carry out the mission, in accordance with the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, “to contribute to reducing tensions of the conflict in Ukraine, in the hope, never given up by the Holy Father, that this could start peace processes.”

Returning from a trip to Hungary on April 30, Francis made an intriguing but puzzling comment about the Vatican being involved in a mission to try to end the war.

“There is a mission in course now but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it,” he told reporters.

In Saturday’s statement the Vatican said the timing and specifics of the mission were still being worked out.

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