Cardinal Zuppi is in Kiev. This was announced by the Holy See, explaining that on 5-6 June 2023, Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna and President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, will visit Kyiv as Envoy of the Holy Father Francis. It is an initiative whose main purpose is to listen in depth to the Ukrainian authorities about the possible ways to achieve a just peace and support gestures of humanity that contribute to easing tensions". An initiative that the Kremlin has commented on limiting itself to specifying that Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet scheduled a meeting with the cardinal. The apostolic nuncio in Kiev, Lithuanian Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas in a video published by Avvenire, explains Zuppi's visit as follows: "First Your Eminence will listen. Everything else will have to be decided: it will be up to him to decide with the Holy Father, subsequently. There will be a whole series of meetings, but it would be discriminatory to mention the meetings now because it is more a mission of work, of study. Then we will then evaluate what to emphasize. Now, however, it is convenient for him to carry them out, the meetings. So you try to work." Msgr. Kulbokas welcomed the Pope's envoy to the apostolic nunciature from where Cardinal Zuppi's initiative begins. Appreciation for the initiative of the Holy See came from Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani. "We are in favor of all peace initiatives - he said - we appreciate the effort that the Holy See is making to favor the end of the war".
Ukraine, Tajani: 'We appreciate the Vatican's effort to promote peace'
Moscow said it had "repelled a large-scale offensive" by Ukrainian forces in Moscow-annexed Donetsk as fighting intensified along the border. The Defense Ministry also says Russian forces killed more than 250 Ukrainian soldiers last night during the Kiev army's offensive in the region. A reconstruction defined as "delusional" by the spokesman of the eastern grouping of the armed forces of Kiev, Serhiy Cherevaty. He told the Washington Post: "Actually, when it starts, everyone will know." But Moscow insists: "Ukrainian forces continue attempts to carry out incursions into the Russian border regions, in particular in that of Belgorod - reports the Ministry of Defense - yesterday two attempts at infiltration were rejected and over 10 terrorists", ie Ukrainian soldiers, "were eliminated in fighting at the border town of Novaya Tavolzhanka".
Kiev has been preparing a "major counteroffensive" for months, hoping to recover the territory lost since Russia launched its military operation in February 2022. The Kiev army recently said that there would be no announcement about the start of the maneuvers. The Russian Defense Ministry reported that yesterday, south of Donetsk, "the enemy launched a large-scale offensive in five sectors of the front. A total of six mechanized battalions and two Ukrainian tanks were involved. The enemy (Kiev, ed.) did not achieve its tasks, it was not successful." The ministry released what it said was a video of the battle, showing Ukrainian armored vehicles under Russian artillery fire. The chief of staff of the Russian army, Valery Gerasimov, "was in one of the advanced command posts," Moscow added. Large parts of Donetsk have been under the control of pro-Moscow separatists since 2014. It is one of four eastern Ukrainian territories that Russia formally annexed in September last year, along with Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. The Russian military also claimed to have repelled a "sabotage group of Ukrainian terrorists" trying to cross the border near the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka in the Belgorod region.