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The Pope calls on Ukraine to negotiate under a white flag: Zelensky was outraged by the pontiff's words

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The Pope calls on Ukraine to negotiate under a white flag: Zelensky was outraged by the pontiff's words

Pope Francis has once again made a scandalous statement about the negotiations between Ukraine and russia. The pontiff's words even hinted at Ukraine's defeat in the war. Find out why the Pope caused such a negative reaction from the Ukrainian side

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Recently, Reuters published part of the Pope's interview with RSI TV channel, in which the head of the Catholic Church said that Ukraine "must show courage" and sit down at the negotiating table with russia under a "white flag". The Pope's words were met with reaction in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian leadership, including President Vladimir Zelensky, criticised his calls.


What did the Pope say?


In the interview, the Pope spoke about the war in Ukraine and called on the parties to come to the negotiating table, but the wording of his answers was clearly directed at Ukraine.


"I believe that those who see the situation, those who think about people, those who have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate are stronger. And today it is possible to agree on this with the help of international forces," the pontiff said.


He went on to reiterate that "if you see that you are losing, that things are not going well", then "you need to have the courage to negotiate".


"But I think the strongest is the one who looks at the situation, thinks about the people, has the courage to stand under the white flag and negotiate," Francis said, adding that the negotiations should be conducted with the help of international powers. "The word 'negotiations' is a brave word. When you see that you have been defeated, that things are not going well, you need to have the courage to negotiate."


The Western media noted that this was probably the first time Francis used terms such as "white flag" or "defeat" when discussing the war in Ukraine, although in the past he has spoken of the need for negotiations.


The pontiff's words were immediately spread around the world media with loud headlines. However, the Holy See later tried to rectify the situation. Vatican press director Matteo Bruni clarified that the pontiff's words about the "white flag" were taken from an expression suggested by the interviewer, because the head of the Catholic Church calls for a ceasefire and the resumption of negotiations, not the surrender of Ukraine.


However, the Vatican's arguments did not influence Ukraine's reaction.




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How did Ukraine react to the Pope's words?


One of the first to respond to the Pope was the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), Sviatoslav Shevchuk


"Come to Ukraine and see. If any of you do not believe in the victory of Ukraine, go to confession! Because it means that we have little trust in the living God present in the body of the Ukrainian people," Shevchuk said during a meeting with the Ukrainian community in New York.


The head of the UGCC also said that "Ukraine is exhausted, but it is standing and will stand, no one can think of giving up."


Later, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba responded to Francis' words, saying that "the strongest is the one who takes the side of good in the battle between good and evil, and does not try to equalise them by calling it negotiations."


"Our flag is blue and yellow. We live, die and win under it. We will not raise other flags," the Ukrainian Foreign Minister said.


President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy also spoke on the topic, accusing Francis of "virtual mediation".


"And I thank every Ukrainian chaplain who is with the army, in the Defence Forces. There, on the front line. They protect life and humanity. They support us with prayer, conversation, and action. This is what the church is - with people. And not two and a half thousand kilometres away - somewhere there to engage in virtual mediation between someone who wants to live and someone who wants to destroy you," he said.


The Pope missed an important detail


Francis's statement is being discussed by almost all Ukrainian media, as well as by political experts. The latter noted that this is not the first time the pontiff has made such statements calling for negotiations. However, this time he started talking about the "white flag" but forgot to mention one very important detail.


Ukrainian soldiers fighting on the front line sometimes have to surrender to the russians to save their lives. It is in this case that soldiers raise "white flags" when, for various reasons, they cannot continue to resist. However, on numerous occasions, Ukrainian prisoners of war who have laid down their arms have been shot by russians right on the spot, despite the fact that the Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers are disarmed and ready to surrender.


We remind you! On the morning of 6 March, russia launched a ballistic missile attack on Odesa, just as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis were visiting one of the local ports. We discuss whether this was a coincidence and what the consequences of the hit were here.


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