Vatican: Pope Francis tasks cardinal with mission aimed at paving ‘paths to peace’ in Ukraine

ROME (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Francis has tasked a leading Italian cardinal with a mission it hopes it can “ease tensions” in the Ukraine war and lead to path of peace. In a brief statement Saturday evening, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Francis had given the mission to Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, a prelate close to the pontiff. Bruni said the timetable and the mechanics of the mission “are currently under study.” Just a week earlier, Francis held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Vatican. Afterwards, Zelenskyy, when asked about their meeting, indicated that any mediation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who ordered the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, was impossible.