VATICAN, July 4. /TASS/. Pope Francis’ wish to visit Moscow and Kiev is motivated not by tactical calculations but by a true Christian desire to achieve peace in Ukraine, a source in Vatican diplomatic circles told TASS Monday.
"Pope Francis is honestly worried about the ongoing events and, as a Christian, he seeks only peace. There are no tactical calculations here," the source said.
Speaking in an interview for Reuters earlier, the Pope said that he hopes to visit Moscow and Kiev after his trip to Canada, planned for July 24-30. According to the Pope, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin discussed the potential visit to Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. No Pope has ever visited the Russian capital before, the news agency says, adding that the situation is further complicated due to Francis’ position on the conflict in Ukraine. When Vatican inquired about the possibility of a visit several months earlier, Russia said that it was "not the right time" for such visit. But now the Pope hints that something could have changed in Moscow’s position, the report says.
"I would like to go (to Ukraine) and I wanted to go to Moscow first. We exchanged messages about this because I thought that if the president of Russia gave me a tiny window, I would go there to serve the cause of peace," Francis said, according to Reuters. "And now it's possible, after I come back from Canada; it is possible that I manage to go to Ukraine. The first thing is to go to Russia to try to help in some way, but I would like to go to both capitals."
The visits may take place in September, Reuters says.
Francis has repeatedly stated his readiness to visit the Russian capital before. In December last year, he made this remark within the context of the planned meeting with Russian Patriarch Kirill. Back then, the Pope said that he is ready to meet "anywhere" and is "ready to come to Moscow." Later, the media reported that the meeting of the two hierarchs, planned to take place in Jerusalem in June, was postponed due to the situation in Ukraine.
There are numerous obstructions for the Pope’s visit to Russia, one being the opposition of the conservative wing of the Orthodox Church.