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Cardinal Matteo Zuppi (Vatican Media)

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Pope Francis’ special envoy to Ukraine, says his mission to the war-torn country has specific patterns in promoting peace. Source: OSV News.

“It is primarily about looking for the best ways to promote peace, and first of all it has a humanitarian dimension. We are particularly mindful of children, especially those uprooted from their family environment,” Cardinal Zuppi said.

“We want to get them back for their families. This is also what the Ukrainian authorities cared a lot about,” the Cardinal said of Ukrainian children, 19,546 of whom were unlawfully deported and transferred from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

The president of the Italian bishops’ conference pointed out that concrete cooperation has been established and “slowly” but “surely” some successes are being achieved. According to the Cardinal, they give hope to continue the mission.

Cardinal Zuppi cited the example of a Ukrainian teenage boy abducted to Russia and threatened with conscription into the Russian military when he turned 18.

Thanks to the Vatican’s diplomatic actions, the orphaned Ukrainian boy was rescued and transferred to Kyiv, where he lives with his sister. Cardinal Zuppi said there were “many more” similar examples.

“We are interested in the solution, in achieving the goal, not in publicity, propaganda, exploitation by either side of the conflict. It’s about pure humanitarian action, which requires professionalism, verification and unfortunately also time,” he explained.

“We’re just cooperating, we want to help solve problems, especially for the youngest ones, as children are unfortunately victims (of this war). War causes so many casualties, children are even more affected, this is the greatest injustice,” he said.

Cardinal Zuppi also addressed the issue of conducting diplomatic dialogue with those responsible for war crimes, such as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian presidential commissioner for children’s rights. 

“People must strive for peace with their enemies. This is exactly the point — of course, never forgetting responsibility and justice. Peace requires talking to enemies as well.”


How to best promote peace in Ukraine (By Dawid Gospodarek, OSV News)