Pope Francis met with the new Russian ambassador to the Vatican, Ivan Soltanovsky, in a meeting where the pontiff’s efforts to promote peace in Ukraine were discussed, according to the Vatican.
Longtime diplomat Ivan Soltanovsky presented his formal credentials to the 86-year-old Pope during the meeting. During the meeting, they discussed in particular the mission of the papal special envoy to Ukraine, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, who has been working to resolve a number of humanitarian problems in the region.
Both parties agreed to continue an honest and open dialogue with the Holy See, based on mutual respect. This dialogue has traditionally been maintained between the Vatican and Russia.
Earlier this year, the Pope appointed Cardinal Zuppi to lead a peace mission aimed at ending the conflict in Ukraine. The cardinal visited several key cities, including Kyiv, Moscow, Beijing, and Washington, where he met with US President Joe Biden.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced last week that Cardinal Zuppi would return to Moscow as part of ongoing dialogue and peace efforts.
Pope Francis has repeatedly called for peace in Ukraine, although initially, following the Russian invasion in February 2022, he was criticized for not labeling Moscow as an aggressor. However, the Vatican reported that the Pope expressed his concerns about the war in a personal visit to the Russian embassy in the Holy See a day after the invasion.