The meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Pope Francis continued for about 50 minutes. The head of the Vatican urged the Russian leader to make “sincere efforts to achieve peace” in Ukraine. The participants of the meeting agreed that one should observe the terms of the Minsk Accords to resolve the “Ukrainian crisis.” The pontiff and the Russian president also expressed concerns about the situation of the Christian community in the Middle East.
During the meeting, Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis exchanged gifts. Putin presented the Pope with a panel picture depicting the cathedral of Christ the Savior, as well as several volumes of the Orthodox Encyclopedia. Francis gave Putin a medallion depicting, according to the pontiff, the angel of peace, who “wins all wars and calls for unity of all people in the world.”
It is worthy of note that Pope Francis agreed to conduct the meeting with the Russian president after the leaders of the Group of Seven did not invite Putin for the summit. In addition, Putin conducted a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President Sergio Mattarello.