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Zelensky set to visit Rome to meet Pope Francis and Italy's premier Meloni

Zelensky visit has not been confirmed by Rome or Kyiv.

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to visit Rome this weekend for talks with Pope Francis and Italy's premier Giorgia Meloni, sources told Italian news agency ANSA on Thursday.

Zelensky's possible trip to Rome, which has not been confirmed by the Vatican or the Italian government, comes as the Ukrainian president is expected to meet German chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Saturday.

Responding to rumours about Zelensky meeting Pope Francis this weekend, Vatican sources told ANSA on Thursday: "It is possible that the pope will meet the Ukrainian president on Saturday".

Zelensky's flying visit to Rome would come a few days after the Vatican's secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin told ANSA that a peace mission of the Holy See on Russia's war in Ukraine is underway.

Pope Francis had announced in late April that the Vatican is involved in a peace mission to try to end the war between Russia and Ukraine, without disclosing details.

The pontiff received Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal last month and had an audience with Zelensky in February 2020, before the Russian invasion.

Francis has consistently pleaded for peace in Ukraine, repeatedly offering to act as a broker between Kyiv and Moscow.

In line with security protocols, the Kyiv government has not confirmed Zelensky's trip to Rome which would be his first visit to the Italian capital since the start of the Russian invasion.

In recent months the Ukrainian president has visited Washington, London, Paris, Brussels, Helsinki and The Hague.

If Zelensky's visit to Rome is confirmed he is expected to meet Italy's president Sergio Mattarella and prime minister Giorgia Meloni, reports Corriere della Sera newsaper.

Meloni visited Zelensky in Kyiv in February, reiterating Italy's staunch support for Ukraine.

Photo credit: Dmytro Larin / Shutterstock.com

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