In an article entitled “Putin to seek friendly ear with Pope visit”, carried by the AFP and written by Jean-Louis de la Vaissiere and Olga Rotenberg, the two authors write:
“The conflicts in the Ukraine and Syria are likely to dominate the talks, organised on the sidelines of a visit to Milan 2015 expo's Russian pavilion. Putin, a champion of conservative values who denounces gay marriage and derides the West's ways, has been cold-shouldered by the United States and much of Europe over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis but seeks an ally in the Argentine pontiff.”
They continue by observing that “The Vatican has so far adopted a cautious stance on the conflict between Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, which has religious overtones. Francis has publicly voiced his frustration over "a war between Christians," but has not heeded calls from leaders of Ukraine's minority Greek Catholic community to firmly condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine. The rebels in Ukraine are mostly Orthodox with links to the Patriarch of Moscow, fighting other Orthodox and Greek Catholics who have ties to Rome.”
Vladimir Sotnikov, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for International Security, Institute of World Economy and International Relations (studio guest), Paolo Salom, political observer, Corriere della Sera newspaper (Milan), Father Yanes Sever, Jesuit Priest (Moscow) and Umberto Pascali, prominent Italian journalist who researches Vatican affairs, commented on the issue.