Pope Francis urges Ukraine to negotiate rather than lose war to Russia

Roman Catholic pontiff encouraged Ukraine Zelensky to embrace the “courage of the white flag.”
Pope Francis, St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, March 8, 2023

Pope Francis directly injected himself into the war in eastern Europe, imploring Ukraine in a transcript released Saturday to negotiate with Russia rather than risk defeat.

“When you see that you are defeated, that things are not going well, you have to have the courage to negotiate,” Francis told the Swiss broadcaster RSI. “Negotiations are never a surrender.”

Russia has made recent strides in the third year of the war as Ukraine runs low on ammunition.

The Roman Catholic pontiff urged Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy to consider the suffering of his own people, and have the courage to turn to the negotiating table, something Zelenskyy has declined to do so far.

“I think that the strongest one is the one who looks at the situation, thinks about the people and has the courage of the white flag, and negotiates,” Francis said, encouraging other foreign powers to assist the negotiations.

A few hours after the Pope’s comments about a “white flag” were made public, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a clarification, according to The Associated Press.

Bruni said the pope derived the “white flag” term that first had been used by the interviewer.