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US Department of State on Pope's call for "white flag"

Tuesday, 12 March 2024, 10:35
US Department of State on Pope's call for white flag
Pope Francis. Photo: Getty Images

The US Department of State has issued a response to Pope Francis’s statement that Ukraine should have the "courage of white flag" and negotiate with Russia to end the war.

Source: European Pravda, with reference to Matthew Miller, spokesman for the US Department of State, during a press briefing on 11 March

Quote from Miller: "Obviously, we support Ukraine’s right to defend itself. We have said time and time again that nothing about Ukraine [shall be decided] without [the input of] Ukraine."


Details: Miller said that the US supports the peace formula proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and Ukraine’s "efforts to peacefully end this war".

"[B]ut that requires Vladimir Putin to stop attacking, to stop trying to take and claim and hold Ukrainian territory, and to agree to negotiations – and he has so far not been willing to do so," Miller added.


  • 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. The Vatican later clarified the Pope’s words, stressing that he called for a ceasefire and the resumption of negotiations, not the surrender of Ukraine.
  • The Pope’s comment has sparked a wide response and has drawn much criticism.
  • In response to Pope Francis’s statement, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said that the Pope should address Russian President Vladimir Putin and urge him to withdraw his occupation forces from Ukraine. Peter Stano, spokesperson for the European Commission, stressed at a briefing in Brussels that peace lies in the hands of one person - Vladimir Putin, who instead continues to wage war every day.
  • Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba responded to Pope Francis’s suggestion by saying that Ukraine’s flag is yellow and blue, not white.

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