Last update: 01 May 2023, 02:23 HST
The Vatican is involved in a peace mission to try to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Pope Francis said on Sunday, declining to give further details.
“I am ready to do whatever needs to be done. There is a mission going on right now but it is not public yet. When it is public I will reveal it,” the pope told reporters during a return flight after a three-day visit to Hungary.
“I think peace is always made by opening channels. You can never achieve peace through closure. … It is not easy.”
The Pope added that he had discussed the situation in Ukraine with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and with Metropolitan (Bishop) Hilarion, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Budapest.
“At these meetings, we didn’t just talk about Little Red Riding Hood. We talked about all these things. Everyone is interested in the path of peace,” he said.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Francis has pleaded for peace virtually every week and has repeatedly expressed a desire to act as an intermediary between Kyiv and Moscow. His offer has so far failed to produce a breakthrough.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met the pope at the Vatican on Thursday and said he had discussed a “peace formula” proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. He said he also invited the pontiff to visit kyiv.
Pope Francis, 86, has previously said he wanted to visit Kiev but also Moscow as part of a peace mission.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions uprooted and entire towns razed to the ground during the war in Ukraine.
Francis, who appeared in relatively good condition during the trip, also spoke about his condition following his hospitalization in late March for what the Vatican at the time described as bronchitis.
He said he felt severe pain at the end of his general hearing on Wednesday March 29 and tried to sleep.
“I didn’t lose consciousness but I had a high fever and at 3 p.m. the doctor immediately took me to the hospital,” he said.
“It was strong and acute pneumonia in the lower part of the lung. Thank God I can talk about it. The body responded well to the treatment, thank God,” he said. He was released on April 1 .
Part of one of his lungs was removed as a young man in Argentina more than half a century ago.
The pope said there was no change in plans to go to Lisbon in August for an international youth gathering and then separately to Marseilles and Mongolia.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)