Thursday 11 June 2015
Pope Francis tells Putin: ‘sincere’ peace efforts needed for Ukraine
Pair agree in Vatican on need to ‘restore climate of dialogue’ between Russia and Ukraine after pontiff expresses deep concern over ‘great humanitarian crisis’ in the region
The meeting, for which Putin was more than an hour late – as he has been in other meetings with world leaders – included an exchange of gifts, with the pope giving Putin a medallion of an “angel of peace”. A similar gift stirred controversy when it was given to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
The Vatican said in a statement that both Pope Francis and Putin agreed on the need to “restore a climate of dialogue” and that Russia and Ukraine should implement a peace plan negotiated in Minsk. “The Holy Father affirmed that it is necessary to make a sincere and great effort to forge peace,” the Vatican said.