Ukraine updates: Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives in Rome

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Rome for talks with Italian political leaders and Pope Francis. DW has the latest.

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is embarking on a crucial diplomatic mission to Italy and the Vatican, where he is expected to hold talks with senior officials of the Italian government and the Roman Catholic Church.

A possible meeting with Pope Francis is particularly significant, given the Pontiff’s recent disclosure of the Holy See’s push to end the war in Ukraine.

Ahead of his visit to the Vatican, Zelenskyy was also scheduled to have separate meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

The Ukrainian leader’s trip marks his first visit to Italy since Russia’s invasion last year.

The Pope had hinted to journalists that a Vatican “mission” around the war was currently underway, which both Moscow and Kyiv publicly expressed surprise at.

The Vatican has maintained that something is in the works without providing any specifics.

The Pope met this week with Russia’s outgoing ambassador to the Vatican, Alexander Avdeyev, and the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported that the Vatican may have given the envoy a letter for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Despite the Pontiff’s persistent calls for peace and his desire to serve as a mediator between Kyiv and Moscow, his offer has yet to lead to a breakthrough.

Zelenskyy might travel to Germany after his stop in Rome, although that has yet to be confirmed.

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning Russia’s war in Ukraine on Saturday, May 13:

Zelenskyy said Russia has lost the ‘war in their minds’

In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russians were “already internally ready for defeat.”

“They have already lost this war in their minds. We must put pressure on them every day so that their sense of defeat turns into their flight, their mistakes, their losses.”

Ukraine claims to have retaken swathes of ground from Russian forces near Bakhmut, the scene of the war’s longest and bloodiest battle.

Moscow acknowledged on Friday that its forces had fallen back north of the city.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s private Wagner mercenary group that has led the campaign in Bakhmut, said in an audio message that what Moscow described, “unfortunately, is called ‘a rout’ and not a regrouping.”

G7 finance leaders to warn of global uncertainty

The finance leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) wealthiest nations are poised to conclude a three-day meeting in Japan with a warning of increased economic uncertainty.

“The global economy has shown resilience against multiple shocks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and associated inflationary pressures,” the leaders will say in a final draft of a communique seen by the Reuters news agency.

“We need to remain vigilant and stay agile and flexible in our macroeconomic policy amid heightened uncertainty about the global economic outlook.”

More DW coverage on Russia’s war in Ukraine

South Africa’s Foreign Ministry summoned the US ambassador to meet Friday over allegations he made a day earlier about the country supplying arms to Russia for the war in Ukraine. South Africa’s foreign ministry says the US ambassador has “apologized unreservedly” for the remarks. Ambassador Reuben Brigety said he had spoken Pandor on Friday “to correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks.”

A student with an anti-war slogan. A vocational school founder who doesn’t want to recruit for the military: some people in Russia are still demonstrating opposition to the war in Ukraine. They’re taking huge risks in doing so, DW’s Juri Rescheto reports.

lo/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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