The Holy See is ready to provide a venue for peace negotiations on Ukraine, top Vatican diplomat Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher said on Sunday.
"The Holy See and the Pope himself have always been open to this [hosting the talks] since the beginning of the conflict, but no definite response has been received yet. Nevertheless, the Holy See always remains at their disposal," Gallagher told Italy's broadcaster Mediaset.
Pope Francis would welcome a request to provide a venue for negotiations, as the Vatican did in the past, if both sides approached them with good intentions, seeking peace, dialogue and an end to hostilities, the Holy See said.
In late October, French magazine Le Point said that French President Emmanuel Macron had asked the pontiff to call Russian and US leaders, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, in order to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Macron also reportedly spoke of the need for the United States to sit down at the negotiating table to advance the settlement process.
A source in the Vatican also told Sputnik that the Holy See was ready to do everything possible to achieve peace in Ukraine. If both sides asked the Vatican for mediation, it would not back down, according to the source.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on these reports, that Russia was open to all contacts, but Ukraine "codified the non-continuation of negotiations."
In late September, Putin said that Moscow was still open to talks with Kiev and called on Ukraine to stop the hostilities. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in turn, stated that Kiev was ready for dialogue with Moscow, but only if another president came to power in Russia, a demand he later dropped.