Germany criticizes the Pope for calling on Ukraine to raise the white flag


The German government strongly criticized Pope Francis’ call on Monday for Ukraine to “raise the white flag” and negotiate with Moscow to end the war, two years after the start of the invasion.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she doesn’t understand the Pope’s position.

Baerbock, who has visited Kiev several times since the beginning of the war, added, “I think that some things cannot be understood unless you see them for yourself”.

For his part, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that he “doesn’t share the Pope’s opinion,” according to what his spokesman Stefan Heibschreit said.

Scholz’s spokesman said, “Ukraine is confronting an aggressor, is benefiting from significant international support, and is moving within the framework of the right to defend itself included in international law”.

The Pope angered Ukrainian officials over the weekend after he said in an interview with Swiss television that we must have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate, two years after Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine.

“I don’t understand,” Baerbock told public broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening.

Speaking to Ukrainian children affected by the war, she said that she asked herself the question, “Where is the Pope?” The Pope should know about these matters”.

She added that if Ukraine and its allies don’t show “strength now, there will be no peace,” stressing that “we must stand by Ukraine and do everything in our power to ensure its ability to defend itself”.

Germany is the second largest contributor to Western military aid to Ukraine, after the United States.

Kyiv responded sharply to the Pope on Sunday, as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that his country would never surrender.

President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed in his daily video message that his citizens of all religions have stood to defend their country since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

He stressed that “Christians, Muslims, Jews and everyone… they support us with prayer, speech and action”.

He added, “This is where the church should be, with the people and not 2,500 kilometers away, as a virtual mediator between those who want to live and those who want to destroy you”.

For its part, the Kremlin said on Monday that Pope Francis’s call for talks to end the Ukrainian war is completely understandable and that Russia is ready to sit at the negotiating table, but it was Kiev that ruled out talks because of its mistaken view that the West is capable of defeating Russia.

Pope Francis said that Ukraine must display what he called “white flag” courage and negotiate an end to the war that began with a large-scale Russian invasion and claimed the lives of tens of thousands.

Russia describes the war as a “special military operation” to ensure its security.

Ukraine and the West described it as a brutal war bearing the character of colonial invasion.

“It’s completely understood that the Pope spoke in order to hold negotiations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked about the Pope’s comments.

Peskov said that President Vladimir Putin repeatedly spoke about Russia’s readiness and openness to negotiations, but Ukraine rejected such proposals.

Peskov added, “Unfortunately, the Pope’s statements and repeated statements by other parties, including us, have been subjected to very strong rejection recently”.

Peskov explained that the situation on the battlefield shows that the West’s hopes of inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Russia were wrong.

“This is the deepest misunderstanding and the deepest mistake, and the course of events, primarily on the battlefield, is the clearest evidence of this,” Peskov said.

On Sunday, Ukraine rejected Pope Francis’ call to negotiate with Russia to end the war, and President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Pope was participating in “virtual mediation,” while the Foreign Minister said that Kiev would never surrender.

Putin sent tens of thousands of Russian troops to Ukraine in February 2022, sparking a full-scale war after eight years of conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces, pro-Russian Ukrainians and Russian proxies.

Putin says that shortly after sending troops to Ukraine, Moscow and Kiev came close to agreeing on a ceasefire, but Britain blocked the agreement.

Zelensky, who signed a decree in 2022 ruling out talks with Putin, said last week that Russia wouldn’t be invited to the first peace summit scheduled to be held in Switzerland.

Share it...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *