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Ukraine will “never” raise the white flag, kyiv responds to the Pope

Ukraine responded sharply to Pope Francis on Sunday, vowing to "never" to face à Russia in reaction to an appeal from the sovereign pontiff à have "the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate”.

“Our flag is yellow and blue. This is the flag for which we live, we die and triumph. We will never raise other flags”, replied the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, in a message on X (formerly Twitter).

“When it comes to the white flag, we know the strategy of the Vatican in the first part of the 20th century. I call on avoiding repeating the mistakes of the past and supporting Ukraine and its people in their fight for life”, he added, visibly in reference to the period of the Second World War and the Church's relations with Nazi Germany.

Il nevertheless said he hoped that the sovereign pontiff “will find the opportunity to make a canonical visit to Ukraine”.

Ukraine will “never” raise the white flag, kyiv responds to the Pope

Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, March 9, 2024 © AFP – Isabella BONOTTO

In an interview on public television RTS dating from early February and broadcast on Saturday, Pope Francis, questioned about the situation in Ukraine, called on Kiev not to be “ashamed of negotiating before the things don't get worse.”

“I believe that the strongest are those who see the situation, think about the people and have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate “, he estimated.

Francis, at the head of the Catholic Church since 2013, had already attracted criticism in the first months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine by not clearly naming Russia as the aggressor.

Last year, he appointed a cardinal as a mediator to work towards peace negotiations peace. The latter has already visited Moscow, kyiv, Washington and Beijing.

– Update from the Vatican –

As of Saturday evening, the Vatican sought to correct the situation by insisting in a press release on the fact that the phrase “white flag” meant here “a cessation of hostilities, a truce obtained with the courage to negotiate” rather than a surrender.

After the Angelus prayer, Sunday, Pope Francis also called for peace “in martyred Ukraine”.

But other officials took his remarks badly. Kiev's ambassador to the Vatican, Andriy Yurach, compared the suggestion to negotiations with Hitler during World War II.

“If we want to end the war, we must do everything to kill the Dragon!”, he wrote on 5 million members in Ukraine, also reacted, without however clearly mentioning the pope.

“Believe me, no one has the idea in their head to surrender, even where the fighting is taking place today — listen to our people in the regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Odessa, Kharkov, Sumy!” Sviatoslav Shevchuk said Saturday during a mass in a church in New York where he was traveling.

Edgars Rinkēvičs, the president of Latvia, a former Soviet republic which has tense relations with Moscow and fears Russian aggression, called on him on All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116