Newsdeck

Newsdeck

Ukraine minister, responding to Pope Francis, says Kyiv will never raise white flag

Ukraine minister, responding to Pope Francis, says Kyiv will never raise white flag
The Berlaymont, headquarters of the EU Commission, is lighted in blue and Yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag for the anniversary of the large scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia on 23 February 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Ukraine's foreign minister, responding to Pope Francis's call to show "the courage of the white flag" and negotiate an end to the war with Russia, said on Sunday that Kyiv would never capitulate and told the Vatican to pay special heed to its role in World War Two.

Francis made the comments in an interview made available in part at the weekendHe responded to a presenter’s suggestion by saying that when things were not going well for a party to a conflict “you have to have the courage to negotiate”.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, writing on social media platform X, said that the strong person in any dispute “stands on the side of good rather than attempting to put them on the same footing and call it ‘negotiations'”.

“Our flag is a yellow and blue one,” Kuleba wrote in English, referring to the Ukrainian national flag. “This is the flag by which we live, die, and prevail. We shall never raise any other flags.”

Kuleba also pointed to allegations that Pope Pius XII failed to take action against Nazi tyranny in World War Two.

“At the same time, when it comes to the white flag, we know this Vatican’s strategy from the first half of the twentieth century,” he wrote.

“I urge (the Vatican) to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and to support Ukraine and its people in their just struggle for their lives.”

That was a reference to longstanding arguments that Pius took no action despite evidence that emerged during the war of the extent of the Holocaust. A letter made public last year from the Vatican archives appeared to show that Pius was made aware of details of Nazi actions to exterminate Jews as early as 1942.

The head of Ukraine’s five million-strong eastern rite Catholic Church, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, also rejected the pope’s comments.

“Ukraine is wounded, but not conquered! Ukraine is exhausted, but it stands and will stand!” the church’s website quoted Shevchuk as saying in New York.

“Believe me, no one has any idea of ​​surrendering.”

 

ZELENSKIY’S PEACE PLAN

Ukraine has been unable to repel Russian forces since Moscow’s full-scale invasion two years ago, but rejects negotiations while Moscow’s troops remain in the slightly less than 20% of its territory they hold.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s peace plan calls for the withdrawal of Russian troops from all of Ukraine and the restoration of its state borders. The Kremlin has ruled out engaging in peace talks on terms set by Kyiv.

The pope’s interview was believed to be the first time Francis has used terms like “white flag” or “defeated” in discussing the Ukraine war, though he has referred in the past to the need for talks.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Saturday the pope had picked up on the term “white flag” spoken by the interviewer and used it “to indicate a stop to hostilities (and) a truce achieved with the courage of negotiations”.

The pope has upset Ukrainian officials several times in the war, including his call last year to Russian youth to take pride as heirs of tsars like Peter the Great, held up by President Vladimir Putin as an example to justify his actions in Ukraine.

European officials supporting Ukraine in efforts to evict Russian troops denounced the pope’s latest comments.

“How about, for balance, encouraging Putin to have the courage to withdraw his army from Ukraine?,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski wrote on X. “Peace would immediately ensue without the need for negotiations.”

Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics, also writing on X, said “One must fight it (evil) and defeat it, so that the evil raises the white flag and capitulates.”

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    Il Papa should rather speak to his disgusting fellow religious travellers in the Russian Orthodox Church who fervently support the murderous billionaire in the Kremlin, RatPutin, who is determined to take Europe back to Soviet times.

  • Penny Philip says:

    The Vatican has should conduct a poll in the Ukraine’s neighbouring countries & see how they feel about a Ukrainian surrender. All of them have lived under Russian occupation, especially Poland (majority Catholic country )which suffered terribly first under German occupation , & then under the Soviets after the 2nd WW.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Raise a white flag for terror, mass-murder, kidnapping, torture, destruction etc. Never!! You can’t appease/reward bestial and evil monsters like Putin, the latter day Stalin/Hitler whose DNA is exactly the same. The Pope needs to speak out strongly against Putin’s illegal, brutal and unjustified war instead of siding with the wicked aggressor.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Feeling powerless in politics?

Equip yourself with the tools you need for an informed decision this election. Get the Elections Toolbox with shareable party manifesto guide.