Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to Pope Francis, asks for mediating role in conflict

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke early Tuesday to Pope Francis and pressed him to play a “mediating role” in ending the suffering caused by Russia’s invasion.

“Told His Holiness about the difficult humanitarian situation and the blocking of rescue corridors by Russian troops. The mediating role of the Holy See in ending human suffering would be appreciated. Thanked for the prayers for Ukraine and peace,” Mr. Zelenskyy tweeted.

The leader of the world’s 1.8 billion Roman Catholics previously condemned the war in a videoconference with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a cleric who is reportedly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spearheaded the Feb. 24 invasion.

Mr. Zelenskyy spoke to the pope as Ukrainian forces tried to repel Russians from taking the southern port of Mariupol, where there is widespread suffering among the civilian population and a lack of food and water.

“Russian forces elsewhere in Ukraine have endured yet another day of limited progress with most forces largely stalled in place,” the UK Ministry of Defence tweeted Tuesday.

• Mark Kellner contributed to this report.

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