In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published on Wednesday (30/08), Ukrainian diplomat Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, accused Pope Francis of being “a tool of Russian propaganda” and to support the “Russian world”.
The Ukrainian advisor’s statement is based on the pontiff’s non-alignment with Kiev’s proposals to deal with the conflict that the two neighboring countries have had since February 2022.
“If we evaluate the pope’s phrases with an open mind, we will see that they are an unconditional encouragement of aggressive imperialism, an applause for the bloody idea of the ‘Russian world’, which entails the brutal destruction of the freedoms and lifestyles of others,” he said. Podolyak.
The adviser linked to Zelensky also criticized one of Francis’ speeches, made in March this year, in which the religious said that “the conflict in Ukraine is being promoted by the interests of several empires, not just Russia”.
“This phrase forces us to ask what the Catholic Church is, what Christianity is,” commented the Kiev official.
Podolyak also made it clear in the interview that Kiev did not like the fact that the Vatican leader participated, a week ago, in a video conference event with young Russian Orthodox Catholics.
In communication with participants at a meeting taking place in St Petersburg, Francis urged those present “not to forget their great heritage and to follow the example of historical figures of the Russian Empire”. He then cited two of the most famous Russian Tsars: Peter the Great (1672-1725) and Catherine II (1762-1796).
The pope’s statement sparked controversy in the Ukrainian and international media. At the time, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Oleg Nikolenko, called Francis’ words “imperialist propaganda”.
For their part, representatives of the Catholic Church in Kiev rejected these allegations and stated that the pontiff is opposed to any form of imperialism or colonialism.
* With information from Corriere della Sera and RT.