Vatican Peace Envoy Visits Moscow in Effort to Resolve Russia’s War on Ukraine

Pope Francis has dispatched a veteran Vatican representative to Moscow in an effort to assist in finding a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, days after an armed uprising in Russia posed a serious threat to President Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi arrived in Moscow on June 27, the Vatican announced in a statement. The envoy, who is the archbishop of Bologna and the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, is scheduled to engage in peace negotiations in the Russian capital through June 29, coinciding with the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, a significant day for Catholic and Orthodox Christians alike.

The initiative is aimed at encouraging “gestures of humanity that can contribute to promoting a solution to the current tragic situation and find paths toward a just peace,” the Vatican statement said.

Zuppi, 67, visited Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, on June 5-6 on what the Vatican said was the first leg of his peace mission. In a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and various senior government officials, the cardinal expressed Pope Francis’s deep concern for the people of Ukraine.

The cardinal, who possesses extensive experience in the Catholic Church’s peace mediation efforts—including brokering the peace agreements that resolved civil conflicts in Guatemala and Mozambique during the 1990s—underscored the importance of dialogue and finding shared solutions among all parties involved to achieve a fair resolution to the Ukraine conflict.

Zuppi’s meeting with Zelensky served as a platform to discuss measures aimed at alleviating suffering, restoring trust, and promoting reconciliation, Vatican News noted in a June 27 article. The cardinal reaffirmed the Vatican’s preparedness to provide assistance through diplomatic channels and humanitarian initiatives.

According to a Vatican insider, Zuppi’s trip to Moscow was in jeopardy because of uncertainties stemming from the armed unrest in Russia over the June 24-25 weekend, Reuters reported.

Referring to his consecutive visits to Kyiv and Moscow, the cardinal emphasized the significance of establishing a framework for resolving the conflict in Ukraine, now in its second year.

Zuppi was expected to hold a meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church and a strong supporter of Russia’s war on Ukraine, according to a June 27 article in the French Catholic newspaper La Croix.