Ukrainian children at war. Photo: UN

Russia Returns 371 Children to Ukraine. By the Intercession of the Pope?

President Zelensky made it known that Russia had returned Ukrainian children to their country of origin.

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Valentina di Giorgio

(ZENIT News / Rome, 05.31.2023).- “The first step has been taken: 371 children are [back] home in Ukraine,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski, after inaugurating the Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights in Ukraine.

Announced in this context also was the “Bring Kids Back UA” plan. It is a plan in which both Ukraine and other countries that support it, are making the necessary efforts to get the close to 20,000 Ukrainian children taken to Russia returned to their country of origin. 

On Thursday, May 25, Pope Francis granted an interview to the Telemundo network. He answered a question there, related to the subject addressed between the President of Ukraine and the Pontiff during Zelenski’s visit: “He asked me for a very big favour: to be involved with the children that had been taken to Russia. Look, I ask you that. They don’t dream so much about mediations because the Ukrainian bloc is very strong — the whole of Europe, the United States. In other words, they have a very large force of their own, no? What hurts him a lot and what he asks for is collaboration in trying to return the children to Ukraine.”

A couple of weeks later, the Pope announced that the Head of the Vatican’s peace mission in the European conflict was Cardinal Matteo Zuppi. And, days later, the Vatican Secretary of State said to journalists that both Russia as well as Ukraine looked favourably on that intervention. Although it’s not something public, it wouldn’t be strange if the Holy Father mediated in this deportation of Ukrainian children from Russia. 

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