Kremlin says appeal by Pope Francis for Ukraine talks is quite understandable

Kremlin says appeal by Pope Francis for Ukraine talks is quite understandable

  • Pope: Ukraine should negotiate with Russia
  • Ukraine rebuffs pope's call for talks with Russia
  • Russia says it is ready for talks but Kyiv refuses them

MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Monday said that a call by Pope Francis for talks to end the Ukraine war was quite understandable and that Russia was ready to sit down, but that Kyiv had ruled out talks due to its mistaken view that the West could defeat Russia.

Pope Francis has said that Ukraine should have what he called the courage of the "white flag" to negotiate an end to a conflict that has killed tens of thousands.

Russia calls the war a "special military operation" to ensure its own security. Kyiv and the West call it a brutal colonial-style war of conquest.

"It is quite understandable that he (the pope) spoke in favour of negotiations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked about the Pontiff's remarks.

Peskov said that President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly spoken of Russia's willingness and openness to negotiations, but that Ukraine had knocked down such proposals.

"Unfortunately, both the statements of the pope and the repeated statements of other parties, including ours, have recently received absolutely harsh refusals," Peskov said.

Peskov said the battlefield situation showed that Western hopes of inflicting a "strategic defeat" on Russia were mistaken.

"This is the deepest misconception, the deepest mistake, and the course of events, primarily on the battlefield, is the clearest evidence of this," Peskov said.

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