President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with political leaders and meet with Pope Francis during his visit to Rome.
“An important visit for the approaching victory of Ukraine!” As Zelensky landed in the Italian capital, he tweeted.
He will visit the Vatican and meet Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella on Saturday.
A massive security operation has been initiated, with over 1,000 police officers deployed and a no-fly zone established over Rome.
Pope Francis has frequently stated that the Vatican is prepared to mediate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
He stated earlier this month that the Vatican was working on a peace plan to end the conflict, but that the mission was “not yet public.” When it becomes public, I will discuss it.”
However, Ukraine’s relationship with the Vatican has at times been tense.
Last August, the Ukrainian ambassador to the Vatican took the unusual step of criticizing the Pope after he described Darya Dugina, the daughter of a Russian ultranationalist figure who was slain by a car bomb, as an “innocent” war victim.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Zelensky and Pope Francis will meet for the first time on Saturday. The meeting occurred in 2020.
Overnight, Russia launched a fresh series of airstrikes against Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.
Three persons were injured in the cities of Mykolaiv in the south and Khmelnytsky in the west. Critical infrastructure as well as residential and government structures were impacted.
Friday, explosions were reported in the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk, located approximately 90 kilometers (55.9 miles) behind the front line in eastern Ukraine. Separatist forces in the region backed by Russia have accused Kyiv of employing Storm Shadow missiles, which the United Kingdom reportedly supplied to Ukraine this week.
Saturday saw additional reports of explosions in Luhansk.
In the meantime, Ukrainian forces report progress near the eastern city of Bakhmut.