Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski arrived in Rome today to meet Pope Francis, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, in what he called an “important visit” for his country’s “victory” in the war against Russia.
“Rome. Meetings with the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Pope Francis. An important visit to get closer to the victory of Ukraine“, Zelenski relieved upon arrival at Ciampino airport in the Italian capital.
According to Vatican sources, Zelenskyj will see the Pope in the afternoon in a room of the Paul VI Hall, in a context of confidential negotiations by the Holy See to reach a rapprochement between Ukraine and Russia, and after the pontiff’s public announcement that the Vatican he will act as mediator to obtain the return of thousands of children who Kiev claims have been forcibly taken from the country.
Zelensky’s first meeting was with Matarella, the Italian head of state, who received him with military honors, in the courtyard of the Quirinal Palace, seat of the presidency, where the anthems of both countries were heard, as well as the flag of the ‘Ukraine .
“We are completely at your side. Welcome, President”Matterella said to Zelenski, at the beginning of the talks between the two delegations, the Italian and the Ukrainian one.
After the meeting with the Italian head of state, Zelenskyj went to Palazzo Chigi, where he met Meloni, while the expected meeting with Francesco will take place “after 3:00 pm” local time.
Since the beginning of the war, the Pope and the president have spoken on the phone at least twice, according to what Francis revealed in dialogue with journalists. Zelensky has already visited the Pope in 2020.
For the moment, however, Francis has not spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin, although he has shown his willingness to contact the president and hinted at the Muscovite leader’s refusal of a meeting. This Thursday Francis received the Russian ambassador to the Holy See, Alexander Avdeev, for the traditional farewell visit.
Weeks ago, Francis received Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, in the first high-level bilateral meeting between the two countries since the start of the Russian invasion.
For the moment, Francis has not been in Kiev since the beginning of the war because he is trying to make a joint visit to Moscow, while Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited the Ukrainian capital in February.
Rome, an armored city
The forces of order have maximized security measures today in Rome for the visit of the Ukrainian president, Volodomir Zelenski, who this morning will meet his Italian counterpart, Sergio Matarella, on a trip which also includes a meeting with Pope Francis and the President of the Italian Council, Giogia Meloni.
The Italian capital is armored, with a thousand agents deployed, a no-fly zone and several sniper teams located in the areas where Zelenski will pass, whose agenda and times have not yet been officially communicated, for security reasons, even if it is expected that your meetings with Mattarella and Meloni begin, and the meeting with Pope Francis takes place in the afternoon.
The massive security system, which includes tight checks at the capital’s train stations and airports, has anti-terrorist units, sniffer dogs and bomb squads, “and there will also be underground checks, with inspections of sewage networks”, according to reports police headquarters.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.