Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has held a phone call with His Holiness Pope Francis, the presidential press service has reported.
According to the report, Zelensky congratulated the pontiff on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
"I appreciate the opportunity to continue our dialogue. The Holy See is the world's moral authority," Zelensky said.
He said that the conversation took place in a special period of the 20th anniversary of the visit of Pope John Paul II to Ukraine. He stressed that millions of Ukrainians have a bright memory of John Paul II and his fateful visit to Ukraine.
Zelensky also recalled the words of the Holy Pope who believed that "Europe should breathe with two lungs: Western and Eastern" and that Ukraine is an integral part of Europe's Eastern lung. In the context of these words, he stressed that the Pope's visit to Ukraine is "oxygen that is so needed."
"First of all, the people of Ukraine are waiting for the visit of Your Holiness," Zelensky said.
Zelensky also renewed the invitation to Pope Francis to visit Ukraine. He expressed confidence that His Holiness's meetings with Ukrainians on Ukrainian soil would be a fateful event.
It was noted during the conversation that today Ukraine is a country where representatives of all religions coexist peacefully and feel comfortable. The state has no apparent interfaith conflicts and virtually no speculation on the subject of faith.
Zelensky noted the global dimension of His Holiness's activity, in particular, attention to the issues of peace, interreligious dialogue, protection of the rights of refugees, and care for the poor.
Zelensky thanked Pope Francis for his constant prayers for peace and tranquillity in Ukraine, which contribute to the restoration of peace in the country and through which Ukrainians feel that Ukraine is in the heart of the pontiff.
Zelensky informed Pope Francis about the terrible consequences of the war in eastern Ukraine. He noted that the state had lost more than 14,000 people in the war in Donbas, and 1.5 million Ukrainians had been forced to leave their homes.
"We look forward to working with the Holy See and to your support in bringing peace to Donbas. The support of the world community and spiritual leaders is extremely important," Zelensky added.
The head of state also noted that the Ukrainian people are waiting for the beatification of Metropolitan Sheptytsky.
On March 25, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at a meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican handed him an invitation from the president to visit Ukraine.