Forty minute interview. The Ukrainian president: “It’s a great honor”
“Thank you for this visit”. The Pope, leaning on a stick, welcomed the Ukrainian president Zelensky with these words before starting the face-to-face meeting in the Paul VI Hall. At the entrance, the handshake and Zelensky, putting his hand to his heart, told the Pope ‘great honour‘. Then Zelensky sat down at the desk before the pontiff.
After the meeting with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at Palazzo Chigi, the Ukrainian president went to the Vatican, entering the Paul VI Hall at 16.10. Wearing a military sweatshirt with the trident symbol on his forearm, he was welcomed in front of the entrance by Father Leonardo Sapienza, regent of the Papal Household.
The topics of the conversation between the Pope and the Ukrainian president “refer to the humanitarian and political situation in Ukraine caused by the ongoing war”, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said. “The Pope – Bruni explained – has ensured his constant prayers, witnessed by his many public appeals and continuous invocation to the Lord for peace, since February last year. Both agreed on the need to continue humanitarian efforts in support of the population.The Pope underlined in particular the urgent need for “gestures of humanity” towards the most fragile people, innocent victims of the conflict”.
Bergoglio has given the Ukrainian president a sculpture depicting an olive tree. In turn, Zelensky paid homage to the Pope with an icon of the Madonna on the remains of a bulletproof vest ripped open by bullets.
The Ukrainian ambassador to the Holy See, Andrji Yurash, also arrived in the Paul VI Hall. After face to face with the Pope, which lasted 40 minutes, Zelensky held talks with the secretariat of state which will be led by Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher since the secretary of state card. Pietro Parolin is located in Lisbon.