The Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada met with the Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary of the Holy See for the Return of Ukrainian Prisoners of War and Deported Children, who is responsible for the Vatican's foreign policy.

The conversation began with a discussion of the tragic events in Ukraine. The Vatican was deeply shocked by the escalation of shelling of Ukraine and the attack on the Okhmatdyt children's hospital.

The Vice Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament expressed gratitude for the consistent and unwavering support of Ukraine by the Vatican in the face of russia's armed aggression. In particular, in international organisations and in providing humanitarian aid.

"I noted the success of the Vatican's efforts to return Ukrainian prisoners of war  and deported children. The recent release of two Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests from russian captivity was due to the efforts and mediation of the Vatican," said Olena Kondratiuk.

She noted that Ukraine appreciates the fact that the Holy See is actively involved in organising recreation and psychological rehabilitation for Ukrainian children. The Vatican is also involved in the treatment of children who have become victims of the russian war against Ukraine at the Vatican hospital Bambino Gesù.

The Deputy Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada noted the importance of solidarity visits of Vatican representatives to Ukraine.

"The visit of Pope Francis would be very symbolic, historic and expected for us. Ukraine is ready to organise this visit at the highest state level at any time convenient for him," said Olena Kondratiuk.

Ukraine is also grateful for the personal participation of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, in the first Global Peace Summit. His official visit to Ukraine is expected to take place in the near future.

"We hope that this visit will be successful and pave the way for a qualitatively new stage of interstate relations and cooperation between Ukraine and the Holy See," said Vice Speaker Olena Kondratiuk.

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