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Evil must be fought and defeated, Latvian President responds to Pope’s outrageous ‘white flag’ statement

Edgars Rinkēvičs
Edgars Rinkēvičs

“One must not capitulate in face of evil,” Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs said in a March 10 post on X responding to Pope Francis’ highly controversial "white flag" statement addressed to Ukraine.

“My Sunday morning take: … one must fight it [evil] and defeat it, so that the evil raises the white flag and capitulates,” he wrote.

Read also: Lithuania summons Vatican ambassador after Pope Francis praises Russian Empire

Ukraine should have the “courage of the white flag” and negotiate an end to the war with Russia, Pope Francis said in an interview recorded last month with Swiss broadcaster RSI.

"The word negotiate is a courageous word. When you see that you are defeated, that things are not going well, you have to have the courage to negotiate," he said.

In a statement, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the Pope had picked up on the term "white flag" spoken by the interviewer and used it "to indicate a stop to hostilities (and) a truce achieved with the courage of negotiations".

Read also: Kremlin pleased by Pope’s acknowledgment of Russian cultural heritage, Vatican ‘clarifies’ statement

Last year the 87-year-old Pope sent a peace envoy, Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, to Kyiv, Moscow,. and Washington to sound out leaders in those countries.

Last August, Pope Francis addressed Russian Catholic youth, urging them “not to forget the heritage of their great, enlightened empire,” mentioning historical figures such as Peter the Great, the founder of the Russian empire, and Catherine the Great, who aggressively expanded the Russian Empire’s frontiers.

The declaration sparked outrage in Ukraine, prompting the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to label the Pope’s words as imperialist propaganda in service of the Kremlin and used to justify the suffering of thousands of Ukrainians and the destruction of numerous towns and villages.

On Sept. 8, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the President’s Office, said that Pope Francis could not serve as a mediator in talks between Ukraine and Russia due to his perceived pro-Russian stance.

In response, the Vatican representative in Ukraine swiftly rejected these interpretations, saying that “Pope Francis categorically rejects the aforementioned interpretations, as he has never advocated imperialistic ideas” and that he remains their “critic.”

Read also: What the Pope actually told Russians

The Vatican assured that Francis did not endorse imperialism in his address but aimed to “encourage young people to preserve and develop the positive aspects of the rich Russian cultural and spiritual heritage.”

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine