VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Pope Francis spoke over the telephone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday (March 22), the second such call since the start of the war in Ukraine, this time addressing the need to help migrants fleeing the country.
Afterward, Zelenskyy tweeted about the phone call, writing that he “told His Holiness about the difficult humanitarian situation and the blocking of rescue corridors by Russian troops.” The Ukrainian president also thanked the pope for his prayers for Ukraine and his efforts for peace, after noting that the “mediating role of the Holy See in ending human suffering would be appreciated.”
The Vatican confirmed the conversation took place but did not share any additional information about the conversation, which was described as a personal phone call.
Talked to @Pontifex. Told His Holiness about the difficult humanitarian situation and the blocking of rescue corridors by Russian troops. The mediating role of the Holy See in ending human suffering would be appreciated. Thanked for the prayers for Ukraine and peace. pic.twitter.com/wj4hmrTRGd
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 22, 2022
“Today I spoke with Pope Francis,” Zelenskyy said in a videoconference with the Italian Parliament. “He said very important things.”
The Ukrainian president described the phone discussion to Parliament, saying the pope acknowledged the Ukrainian people’s desire for peace, as well as their urge to defend their country. “I answered: ‘Our people became an army when it saw how much evil, how much devastation the enemy brought,’” Zelenskyy said, detailing the atrocities in Ukraine targeting civilians and beseeching Italy and Europe to intervene for peace.
The Ukrainian representative to the Holy See, Andrii Yurash, also tweeted on the “new visible gesture of support” by Pope Francis. He said the conversation lasted several minutes and said the pope initiated the call, which was “very promising.”