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Yanukovich says Patriarch of Jerusalem recommended him as mediator at talks with Donbass

The patriarch considered this request at the Holy Synod and gave a blessing to submit a letter to President Pyotr Poroshenko, Yanukovich said

MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem proposed the candidature of Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovich for a mediator in peace talks with Donbass, Yanukovich confirmed at a news conference on Wednesday.

According to Yanukovich, a large group of Ukrainian pilgrims visited the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, and discussed a possibility of sending a letter to the current Ukrainian head of state with an appeal of employing all necessary means to achieve peace. Yanukovich was recommended to enter into talks with Donbass.

"The patriarch considered this request at the Holy Synod and gave a blessing to submit [a letter] to Pyotr Poroshenko," Yanukovich said. "The patriarch’s secretariat confirmed that there was a letter."

Last week, the Ukrainian media reported that Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem had sent a letter to Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, appealing to him to forgive opponents and reconcile with them and urging him to employ any necessary means to achieve peace, including Viktor Yanukovich’s involvement in the process.

The idea got support in the United States. Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager of US President Donald Trump, said in a recent interview with Israeli television channel ILand that he had discussed at a meeting with Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem that Ukraine’s ex-president needed to take part in peace-making.

"We talked about a need to bring new people even the ex-President (Yanukovych -TASS), as he is from this region. The Patriarch supported it. We also officially support this position and in the press, when we see the escalation of the tensions," Lewandowski said.

During Poroshenko’s visit to Israel, Patriarch Theophilos III cancelled their meeting on January 21, citing health problems. Nonetheless, a day later he received a delegation of believers from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Odessa diocese. The patriarch pointed out that he prays for peace in Ukraine and "conveyed his primatial blessing to faithful children of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.".