During his visit to the Vatican, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invited Pope Francis to visit Donbas, as reported by the press service of the Ukrainian President.
Zelensky said that the pontiff is very much expected in Ukraine, where he has extremely great support and trust.
"I invited him to Ukraine. I am sure that he will visit Ukraine - not only the capital. I said that in order to fully understand what is happening in the east, we have to visit the east of Ukraine," Zelensky said at the press conference.
The Ukrainian President noted the important role that the Holy See could play in achieving peace on Ukrainian soil.
"The main thing we talked about was peace. He [Pope Francis] even called me "the president of the world". That's the image I have gained in Europe," said Zelensky.
The President also thanked the pontiff for the "Pope for Ukraine" initiative, which has helped 900,000 Ukrainians who have been affected by the conflict in the Donbas.
Earlier, it was reported that Zelensky asked Pope Francis for help in freeing Ukrainian prisoners who are held captive in Russia and the Donbas territories which are not under Kyiv’s control.
During the meeting, the leaders also discussed ways to resolve the conflict in the Donbas.
The Ukrainian president is visiting Italy on February 7-8. During the meeting with the Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte, Zelensky discussed the return to Ukraine of the Ukrainian National Guard serviceman Markiv.
Zelenky also discussed with the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella Ukraine’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures.