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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 May 2024

Mission to help Ukraine kids: Pope

Francis gave no details when asked whether he spoke about peace initiatives during his talks in Budapest this weekend with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban or the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Hungary

AP/PTI Aboard the papal plane Published 02.05.23, 05:11 AM
Pope Francis

Pope Francis File picture

Pope Francis has revealed that a secret peace “mission” in Russia’s war in Ukraine was underway, though he gave no details, and said the Vatican is willing to help facilitate the return of Ukrainian children taken to Russia during the war.

“I’m available to do anything,” Francis said on Sunday during an airborne press conference en route home from Hungary. “There’s a mission that’s not public that’s underway; when it’s public I’ll talk about it.”

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Francis gave no details when asked whether he spoke about peace initiatives during his talks in Budapest this weekend with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban or the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Hungary.

Deportations of Ukrainian children have been a concern since Russia invaded Ukraine last year. Francis said the Holy See had already helped mediate some prisoner exchanges and would do “all that is humanly possible” to reunite families.

“All human gestures help. Gestures of cruelty don’t help,” Francis said.

The International Criminal Court in March issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s children’s commissioner, accusing them of war crimes for abducting children from Ukraine.

AP/PTI

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