Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Volodymyr Zelensky during a private audience at the Vatican. File / AP
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Tuesday on Pope Francis to mediate in his country's conflict with Russia to help alleviate human suffering, nearly one month into Moscow's invasion.
Zelensky said he had held a telephone call with the Pope and that he had "told His Holiness about the difficult humanitarian situation and the blocking of rescue corridors by Russian troops."
"The mediating role of the Holy See in ending human suffering would be appreciated," Zelensky wrote on Twitter following the call.
Negotiators from Moscow and Kyiv have held ongoing talks aimed at ending nearly four weeks of fierce fighting, but have failed to announce any progress so far.
Pope Francis has called for an end to the conflict on more than one occasion, and although he has condemned the "massacre" in Ukraine, he has avoided mentioning Russia by name.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and Francis earlier this month held talks on Ukraine and urged negotiations to continue to reach a "just peace."
Shortly after the start of Russia's military operation last month in Ukraine, Patriarch Kirill called Moscow's opponents in Ukraine "evil forces."
Zelensky said late on Monday he was prepared to discuss a commitment from Ukraine not to seek NATO membership in exchange for a cease-fire, the withdrawal of Russian troops and a guarantee of Ukraine’s security.
“From the beginning, I have insisted on talks with the Russian president,” Zelensky said. “It’s not that I want (to meet him), it’s that I have to meet him so as to settle this conflict by diplomatic means.
More than 3.3 million refugees have already fled Ukraine through its western border, with around 2 more million displaced inside the country.
The Fire broke out over an area of about 100 square metres and was extinguished around an hour later, Interfax news agency reported, adding that the small refinery belonged to a company called Resource LLC.
Pope Francis offered his prayers for the thousands of victims of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey on Wednesday and called on the international community to continue to support rescue and recovery efforts.
Pakistani national Ikra Jiwani was arrested in Bengaluru in the last week of January along with her husband Mulayam Singh Yadav. The 19-year-old, Ikra Jivani was illegally staying in India.
The jacket was presented to the Prime Minister by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) during India Energy Week in Bengaluru on Monday. The IOCL will recycle 100 million PET bottles annually to make fabrics, in a push to decarbonise the economy.