VATICAN CITY, March 15 (Reuters) – The mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv has urged Pope Francis to travel to the city even in the current circumstances, saying his presence there was “key” to saving lives and achieving peace.
A letter by Vitaliy Klitschko to the pope followed earlier invitations by Ukraine’s Byzantine-rite Catholic leader and Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican.
In a statement, the Vatican confirmed that the pope had received the letter, which was dated March 8. It said the pope was praying for Ukrainians but made no mention of the invitation or a trip.
“We believe that (the pope’s) presence in person in Kyiv is key for saving lives and paving the path to peace in our city, country and beyond,” Klitschko wrote.
He said Kyiv was ready to offer any help needed. If a visit was not possible, the mayor suggested a live or recorded video conference also including President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
“We appeal to you, as a spiritual leader, to show your compassion, to stand with the Ukrainian people by jointly spreading the call for peace,” the letter said.