Pope Francis says Ukraine needs to have the courage to raise ‘white flag’ and negotiate with Russia to end the war.

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As the United States continues to send billions to Ukraine, further fueling that country’s war with Russia, many observers consider the conflict unwinnable for Ukraine.

Now, that group includes Pope Francis.

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‘The Courage of the White Flag’

The Associated Press reports, “Pope Francis said in an interview that Ukraine, facing a possible defeat, should have the courage to negotiate an end to the war with Russia and not be ashamed to sit at the same table to carry out peace talks.”

“The pope made his appeal during an interview recorded last month with Swiss broadcaster RSI, which was partially released on Saturday,” AP noted.

“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.

The pontiff suggests talks should take place with the help of international powers.

Reports suggest Ukraine is resolute in its stance of not engaging directly with Russia in peace talks. And President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly stated that the country that was invaded must take the initiative in negotiations.

The story continued:

Russia is gaining momentum on the battlefield in the war now in its third year and Ukraine is running low on ammunition. Meanwhile, some of Ukraine’s allies in the West are delicately raising the prospect of sending troops.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Saturday that Francis picked up the “white flag” term that had been used by the interviewer. He issued a statement of clarification after the pope’s “white flag” comments sparked criticism that he was siding with Russia in the conflict.

Throughout the war, Francis has tried to maintain the Vatican’s traditional diplomatic neutrality, but that has often been accompanied by apparent sympathy with the Russian rationale for invading Ukraine, such as when he noted that NATO was “barking at Russia’s door” with its eastward expansion.

UKRAINE: Pope Francis, in a major rebuke of Zelensky, advised him that he must have the courage to wave the white flag and negotiate directly with Putin. Will Ukraine’s embattled leader relent and open direct talks with his Russian counterpart? pic.twitter.com/kgCZvVgseC

— @amuse (@amuse) March 9, 2024

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Pope Francis: ‘Negotiations Are Never A Surrender’

Francis insisted that “the word negotiate is a courageous word.”

“When you see that you are defeated, that things are not going well, you have to have the courage to negotiate,” Francis said.

“Negotiations are never a surrender,” he added.

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