Zelensky hits back at Pope’s push for Ukraine to ‘wave the white flag’

Volodymyr Zelensky has criticised Pope Francis’s call to negotiate with Russia two years into its invasion, dismissing the pontiff’s calls for Kyiv to have the “courage to raise the white flag” as “virtual mediation” from thousands of miles away.

In his evening address, President Zelensky thanked Ukrainian chaplains, adding: “This is what the church is about – being with people. Not 2,500 kilometres away, engaging in virtual mediation between those who want to live and those who want to kill them.”

The Pope provoked anger when he said Ukraine should negotiate with Russia, which has seized swathes of its territory during the war. “When you see that you are defeated, that things are not working out, have the courage to negotiate,” he said.

Mr Zelensky’s comments echoed those of Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, who earlier posted on social media: “Our flag is a yellow and blue one. This is the flag by which we live, die, and prevail. We shall never raise any other flags.”

Radosaw Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, also hit back at the Pope’s comments, posting on Twitter: “How about, for balance, encouraging Putin to have the courage to withdraw his army from Ukraine?” ]]>

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