Germany expresses criticism of Pope Francis regarding Ukraine comments

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has voiced criticism of Pope Francis’s stance on the conflict in Ukraine, particularly his suggestion that Kyiv should initiate peace talks with the Kremlin.

Baerbock expressed confusion over the Pope’s remarks in a recent interview, where he advocated for Ukraine to “have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate.” Reflecting on her own experiences visiting Ukrainian cities and speaking with victims of the conflict, Baerbock underscored the importance of witnessing the war’s realities firsthand, such as the devastation of a bombed kindergarten and the plight of families whose children were forcibly taken in eastern Ukraine, many of whom remain missing.

Questioning the Pope’s awareness of these harsh realities, Baerbock argued for a firmer stance and increased solidarity with Ukraine by Western nations to compel Russia to end the conflict. “If we don’t show strength now, then there will be no peace,” she stated.

The Vatican later sought to clarify Pope Francis’s comments, with spokesman Matteo Bruni explaining that the Pope’s reference to a white flag was meant to symbolize a call for a ceasefire and negotiations towards a fair and lasting peace, rather than a surrender.

In an interview where the Pope was asked about the call for surrender versus the legitimacy of the aggressor’s position, he emphasized the importance of recognizing when to negotiate to prevent further casualties, suggesting that international mediators, including Türkiye, could play a role in facilitating dialogue. The Pope stressed the significance of negotiating before the situation deteriorates further, acknowledging the potential shame but highlighting the necessity to save lives.–Web Desk