Pope Francis Faces Criticism for His Position on Ukraine-Russia Peace Talks

"Kyiv shouldn't be ashamed to talk to Vladimir Putin's regime before things get worse."- he said.

by Sead Dedovic
Pope Francis Faces Criticism for His Position on Ukraine-Russia Peace Talks
© Getty Images

Pope Francis is known as a figure advocating for peace in the world, and the conflicts currently prevailing in Ukraine and the Middle East are not what the Pope wishes to see in the future. In an interview with Swiss RSI, Pope Francis urged Ukraine to carefully consider its future and emphasized that negotiations are crucial for peace to prevail in the country. The Pope also sent a message to Ukraine, calling on them to have 'the courage of the white flag.'

He believes that in these moments, leaders of both countries must think about the people, make compromises, and finally work to bring about peace.

"I think that the strongest one is the one who looks at the situation, thinks about the people, has the courage of the white flag, and negotiates."- Pope Francis said, as quoted by skynews.com

Pope Francis has called on Ukrainian leaders to carefully consider the future of their country. Facing such a strong opponent is a challenging task. Predictions suggest that Ukrainians may find it difficult to withstand the pressure from Russia and the constant attacks.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis© Franco Origlia/Getty Images News

However, Volodymyr Zelenskyy believes in the courage of his soldiers and expects assistance from European countries. The Pope has urged Ukrainians to engage in negotiations with the Russians. If negotiations are not prioritized, the situation could become significantly more challenging for Ukrainians, potentially leading to major disasters.

"Kyiv shouldn't be ashamed to talk to Vladimir Putin's regime before things get worse. The word negotiate is a courageous word"- Pope Francis continued.

Someone has to be defeated. Every war carries a complete or partial loser. The Pope believes that if you see that you don't have the strength to resist or you don't have reasons to be optimistic about achieving your war goals, sometimes it is courageous to surrender. He emphasized that negotiating does not necessarily mean surrender. Negotiating also means being brave and ready to find common ground with your enemy.

"When you see that you are defeated, that things are not going well, you have to have the courage to negotiate. Negotiations are never a surrender," he continued.

Many leaders and ordinary citizens around the world believe that the Pope was biased towards one side in his interview. Ukrainians argue that they are not the main problem in the whole story and that Russian leader Vladimir Putin should also consider negotiating as a good option. Ukrainians see the Pope's statements as an encouragement for them to surrender, which they do not consider a current option. 

Reactions followed immediately on social media, and one of those who decided to respond was Radek Sikorski, the foreign minister of Poland. He believes that Pope Francis should encourage Putin to withdraw his army from Ukraine. According to his post, surrendering Ukraine is not an option.

"How about, for balance, encouraging Putin to have the courage to withdraw his army from Ukraine? Peace would immediately ensue without the need for negotiations."- Sikorski wrote.

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church reacts

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, also reacted to the Pope's statements. Although aware that Ukrainians are wounded and in a difficult situation, he emphasized that they have not been defeated yet. Despite all obstacles and fatigue, he believes that Ukrainians will endure this war and emerge as victors. Shevchuk also stressed that no one is considering surrender as an option. Such statements from Shevchuk show the courage of Ukrainians, who do not consider surrendering at any moment. Although aware that the Russians have a strong army and arsenal, the fact that they have managed to resist them so far gives them strength and hope that they can do the same in the future.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy has frequently emphasized in recent interviews that Ukrainians are willing to negotiate, but negotiating with Vladimir Putin is very challenging. Those familiar with Vladimir Putin's psychological profile know how tough a negotiator the Russian president is and how firmly he stands behind his positions. Such an atmosphere does not promise that peace can be achieved, at least not soon.

Zelenskyy is somewhat willing to compromise, while Putin seems to have clear conditions for achieving peace. Despite everything, Volodymyr Zelenskyy is optimistic that peace could indeed be achieved. The Ukrainian leader encourages his soldiers to resist Russian forces and believes they can achieve their goal.

Pope Francis's call for peace is not considered ideal by many. Some believe that he should have put an accent on Russia more and highlighted that Vladimir Putin must be willing to compromise and strive for peace. Clearly, Pope Francis believes that the Russians are much stronger, and it is a matter of time before they achieve victory. However, these are just assumptions.

Pope Francis Ukraine Vladimir Putin