La Civilta Cattolica published a transcript of Pope Francis’ meeting with Jesuits in Kazakhstan earlier this month.
Pope Francis told them that a Ukrainian military general and Zelenskyy’s religious adviser had asked him for help with a prisoner swap.
“This time they brought me a list of more than 300 prisoners. They asked me to do something to make an exchange.”
He said he did what he could to help right away.
“I immediately called the Russian ambassador to see if something could be done, if an exchange of prisoners could be speeded up.”
His conservation with the Jesuits took place on September 15th. Six days prior Zelenskyy announced that Russia and Ukraine had successfully swapped around 300 prisoners, the largest yet.
Pope Francis also told them he tried to call Putin after the war began.
“I recall that the day after the start of the war I went to the Russian Embassy. It was an unusual gesture; the pope never goes to an embassy. He receives the ambassadors personally only when they present their credentials, and then at the end of their mission on a farewell visit. I told the ambassador that I would like to speak with President Putin, provided he left me a small window for dialogue.”
He called the “the invasion of Ukraine an unacceptable, repugnant, senseless, barbaric, sacrilegious aggression” but “international factors contributed to provoking the war.”
“from the first day of the war until yesterday, I spoke constantly about this conflict, referring to the suffering of Ukraine. I have already mentioned that a head of state, in December last year, came to tell me that he was very concerned because NATO had gone barking at the gates of Russia without understanding that the Russians are imperial and fear border insecurity. He expressed fear that this would provoke a war, and this broke out two months later.”
Pray for peace!