Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Zelenskyy to meet with Pope Francis at Vatican in Rome visit

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seen in a car during a visit at a military air base in Soesterberg, Netherlands, on May 4, 2023. (Yves Herman/Pool via AP)

ROME (AP) -- Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy is making a trip to Rome and he will meet with Pope Francis and Italian leaders on Saturday, the Vatican said.

    Zelenskyy will hold midday meetings with Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, who staunchly backs military and other aid for Ukraine, and with President Sergio Mattarella.

    Zelenskyy's exact schedule wasn't being publicly announced because of security concerns, and the Vatican only confirmed a papal meeting shortly before the Ukrainian president's expected arrival in Rome.

    Italian state television reported that as part of protective measures, a no-fly zone was ordered for Rome skies and police sharpshooters were strategically placed on high buildings.

    Meloni met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv, shortly before the anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

    Francis, who is eager for peace, last met with the Ukrainian leader in 2020.

    The pontiff makes frequent impassioned pleas on behalf of Ukraine's "martyred" people, in his words.

    At the end of April, flying back to Rome from a trip to Hungary, Francis told reporters on the plane that the Vatican was involved in a behind-the-scene peace mission but gave no details. Neither Russia nor Ukraine has confirmed such an initiative.

    Also in The Mainichi

    The Mainichi on social media