Pope to meet Putin at Vatican on 4 July

Pope Francis, Vladimir Putin, 2015.

Pope Francis will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin for an audience on 4 July, the Vatican announced on Thursday. The meeting will be the third between the two men, with Francis having received Putin most recently in 2015, when the pope urged all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to make a "sincere effort" for peace.

The meeting then lasted an unusual 50 minutes. But the pope did not go further than calling for "an important and sincere effort to achieve peace" in Ukraine, where Russia is accused of carrying out a proxy war, after annexing Crimea in 2014.

Francis first met Putin in 2013, as the Roman Catholic Church sought to improve ties with the Russian Orthodox Church. Only in 2009 did the Vatican and Moscow re-establish full diplomatic ties which had been severed during Soviet times. Putin previously met the pope's now-retired predecessor Benedict XVI as well as late pope John Paul II.

 

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