Pope ‘talks Ukraine peace’ with new Russian envoy

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis met on Monday with the new Russian ambassador to the Vatican, who said they discussed the pontiff’s efforts to bring peace to Ukraine. Ivan Soltanovsky, a long-time diplomat, presented his formal accreditation to the 86-year-old head of the Catholic Church, according to a Vatican statement. They “discussed, in particular, the mission of the papal special envoy to Ukraine, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, aimed at solving a number of humanitarian issues”, Soltanovsky told Russia’s official TASS news agency. “They agreed to continue an honest and open dialogue with the Holy See, traditionally built on the basis of mutual respect,” the diplomat added. Earlier this year the pope appointed Zuppi, the head of Italy’s Bishops’ Conference, to lead a peace mission to try to stop the war in Ukraine. Zuppi has since visited Kyiv, Moscow, Beijing and Washington, where he met with US President Joe Biden. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested last week the cardinal would return to Moscow.

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