Ukraine Responds Over Pope Francis’s ‘White Flag’ Remark

( – Ukraine and its allies have criticized some of the recent remarks made by Pope Francis, suggesting that Kyiv should take a seat at the negotiating table and end the two-year-long war with the Kremlin. However, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican expressed a different opinion, telling NBC News that the country could not accept the pontiff’s suggestion.

During an interview with Swiss broadcaster RSI, which partially aired on Saturday, Pope Francis explained that when a party perceives defeat and unfavorable circumstances, they should demonstrate bravery to negotiate. He further suggested that Ukraine should show courage akin to raising a white flag.

The response from Ukrainians was swift and unequivocal. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba emphasized that their flag, symbolized by yellow and blue, represents their unwavering commitment to their nation’s identity and resilience. He stressed the importance of learning from history’s lessons, indirectly alluding to the actions of the Catholic Church during World War II.

Kyiev’s commander-in-chief, Zelenskyy, also responded to the Pope. He criticized the Pope’s comments, allegedly accusing him of “virtually mediating” the conflict from afar. He asserted that Ukrainian resolve under the blue-and-yellow flag had halted further Russian advancement into Europe.

Andrii Yurash, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican, rejected the notion that the victim of aggression should be the one to raise the white flag of surrender, drawing parallels to World War II and the present conflict with Putin’s Russia.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church echoed these sentiments, emphasizing that Ukrainians cannot cease defending themselves as surrender would equate to their demise.

Criticism also extended from Ukraine’s allies, with Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski suggesting that Putin should be encouraged to withdraw his army from Ukraine.

Addressing the Pope’s remarks indirectly, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that Putin is the genesis of the ongoing war and thus holds the power to end it, emphasizing that surrender is not peace.

Meanwhile, in clarifying Pope Francis’s comments, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni clarified that the term “white flag” was part of the interviewer’s question and that the Pope supported a cessation of hostilities through negotiation, not Ukraine’s surrender.

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