Pope hints Ukraine should ‘raise white flag’ and end war; outraged Kyiv says will never surrender to Russia

Connie Queline

Pope hints Ukraine should ‘raise white flag’ and end war; outraged Kyiv says will never surrender to Russia

KYIV: Ukrainian and allied officials criticised Pope Francis for saying Kyiv should have the “courage” to negotiate an end to the war with Russia, a statement many interpreted as a call on Ukraine to surrender.
Ukraine’s foreign minister vowed “never” to surrender to Russia. Dmytro Kuleba said on social media, “Our flag is a yellow and blue one. This is the flag by which we live, die, and prevail. We shall never raise any other flags.” He called on the elderly pontiff to stand “on the side of good” and not put the opposing sides “on the same footing and call it ‘negotiations’.”
The foreign minister of Poland, a vocal ally of Kyiv, and Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican both used World War II analogies to condemn the pope’s remarks, while a leader of one of Ukraine’s Christian churches on Sunday said that only the country’s determined resistance to Russia’s aggression had prevented a mass slaughter of civilians.
In an interview with Swiss broadcaster RSI, Francis used the phrase “the courage of the white flag” as he argued that Ukraine, facing a possible defeat, should be open to peace talks brokered by international powers. “I think 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,” he said.
A Vatican spokesman later clarified the pope supported “a stop to hostilities (and) a truce achieved with the courage of negotiations,” rather than an outright Ukrainian surrender. Matteo Bruni said the journalist interviewing the pope used the term “white flag” in the question that prompted the controversial remarks.
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