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Top Diplomat Criticizes Pope Francis’ Call for Peace Talks; US and Japan Explore Collaboration on Arms Supply to Kyiv

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Counters Pope Francis’ Peace Call Amidst Growing Discord; US and Japan Explore Defense Partnership to Support Ukraine”

Pope Francis greets George Poulides, ambassador of Cyprus to the Holy See and dean of the Vatican diplomatic corps, during his annual meeting with diplomats accredited to the Holy See at the Vatican Jan. 9 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
Pope Francis greets George Poulides, ambassador of Cyprus to the Holy See and dean of the Vatican diplomatic corps, during his annual meeting with diplomats accredited to the Holy See at the Vatican Jan. 9 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Amidst escalating tensions, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, swiftly rebuffed Pope Francis’ recent call for Ukraine to engage in negotiations with Russia, sparking outrage among Ukrainians and drawing condemnation from several foreign allies.

Responding to the Pope’s suggestion to consider negotiations with Russia, Kuleba reiterated Ukraine’s steadfast stance, emphasizing, “Our flag is yellow and blue. We live, die, and triumph under this banner. We shall never yield to any other flag.” He urged the Vatican to refrain from adopting strategies reminiscent of the past and invited the Pontiff to visit Ukraine in solidarity with its citizens.

Kuleba’s remarks followed a wave of public outcry on Ukrainian social media following the release of excerpts from the Pope’s interview. Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni clarified that the Pope’s remarks were in response to an interviewer’s mention of the white flag symbolism, reaffirming Francis’ unwavering support for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the United States and Japan are reportedly in discussions to enhance their defense cooperation, with a focus on bolstering Ukraine’s military capabilities. The collaboration aims to provide additional munitions to Ukraine and expand avenues for Japan to contribute to the repair and maintenance of US military equipment, according to sources cited by the Yomiuri newspaper.

The potential partnership comes at a critical juncture as the conflict in Ukraine shows no signs of abating. Despite recent setbacks, a surge of international interest in investing in Ukraine’s reconstruction signals a glimmer of hope for the war-torn nation’s future.

With billions of dollars poised for investment, governments, corporations, and investors are positioning themselves to participate in what could be the largest reconstruction effort since World War II. From infrastructure projects to defense ventures, companies from around the globe are gearing up to contribute to Ukraine’s recovery.

However, uncertainties loom over the scope and timeline of Ukraine’s reconstruction, as significant challenges, including the presence of mines and the displacement of millions of citizens, persist. Nevertheless, there is optimism that with transparent governance and robust international support, Ukraine can emerge from the shadows of war stronger than ever before.

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