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Kremlin reacts to Pope's statement

Monday, 11 March 2024, 12:30
Kremlin reacts to Pope's statement
Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of Putin. Photo: RIA Novosti

Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, stated that whilst the Kremlin had noted the Pope's call for negotiations, Ukraine "absolutely and categorically rejects" the possibility of talks with Russia.

Source: Kremlin-aligned news agency RIA Novosti

Quote from Peskov: "As far as I understand, the Pontiff’s statements have to be viewed within a broader context, but overall... he expressed support for negotiations. You know, our President has repeatedly spoken about our openness to discussion and readiness to resolve our issues [the "issues" in question being Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine and the subsequent bloody war waged against it for 10 years − ed.] through negotiations. This is the better way."


Details: At the same time, he mentioned that Ukraine does not want to address "Russian issues."

Quote from Peskov: "You know, both the Pope’s statements and those repeatedly made by other parties, including us, are met with nothing but vehement rejection by the Kyiv regime, which absolutely refuses to entertain the possibility of engaging in any negotiations."

Details: He associates this with Kyiv feeling supported by European countries that declare they will "do everything to condemn Russia to an inevitable strategic defeat."


"This is a grave mistake fostered by serious deception, and the course of events on the battlefield vividly attests to this," said Peskov, without clarifying which specific events he was referring to.

He also stated that Paris's efforts to "assemble a coalition" of countries potentially prepared to put boots on the ground in Ukraine is a "direct route to the further escalation of tensions."

"Escalating tensions on the Ukrainian front could potentially have very undesirable consequences," Peskov reiterated, as an attempted threat.

The key facts: Russia invaded and occupied the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in 2014. In 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, attacking peaceful settlements across the country with rockets and bombs during the night. It was telling that Russian propagandists actively spread claims in the first days that "Russia will take Kyiv in three days," with Russian soldiers advancing on Kyiv carrying ceremonial uniforms to be worn in the victory parade in Khreshchatyk Street "three days later".

However, the Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to drive the Russians out of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy oblasts. They continue to resist the Russians on other fronts. Sensing that victory was unattainable, Russia began promoting the idea of so-called peaceful negotiations, which in reality would require Ukraine to capitulate and surrender claims to all territories Russia has already succeeded in occupying. Meanwhile, Russians continue to terrorise Ukraine by targeting energy infrastructure, civilian facilities and residential buildings, often under cover of nightfall.

Despite its vast reserves of weapons and equipment, the Russian army sustains significant losses. As of early March – after more than 10 years of conflict and 2 years of full-scale war – the Russians have failed to achieve a strategic victory in any sense of the word, such as expanding their so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics to control the entirety of their respective oblasts. Battles over the control of individual streets and buildings persist in cities and villages in eastern Ukraine. The Russians are attempting to obtain weapons and recruit mercenaries from other countries.

Ukraine considers the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from its territory, the restoration of borders to their 1991 definitions, the return of all prisoners, payment of reparations, and serving of justice for war criminals as prerequisites for negotiations. All of these conditions are outlined in the Ukrainian Peace Formula.


  • On 9 March, Reuters reported that Pope Francis said in an interview this February that Ukraine should have what he called "the courage of the white flag" and negotiate an end to the war with Russia.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded to this that "the killers are not walking through Europe, because Ukrainians are deterring them under their blue and yellow flag."

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