Pope Francis appoints special envoy for Ukraine

The Italian Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi should help to ease the conflict in Ukraine.

Pope Francis during his general audience in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican.

Pope Francis during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.Evandro Inetti/Imago

Pope Francis has appointed Italian Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi as the Vatican’s special envoy for the Ukraine war. The chairman of the Italian bishops’ conference – who is also archbishop of Bologna – should “head a mission to help ease the conflict in Ukraine,” said a Vatican spokesman on Saturday. The timing and manner of such a mission are still being examined.

The head of the Catholic Church has repeatedly called for a peace solution in the 15-month war. The Vatican statement said Francis had never given up hope that such a mission could pave the way for peace. The pontiff had vaguely suggested in the past that the Vatican was involved in a peace initiative.

Francis also mentioned such a mission on the return flight from a trip to Hungary at the end of April. Since the beginning of the war in February last year, the Holy See has repeatedly offered to mediate.

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