Rome is "betting on Ukraine's victory," Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said while meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Germany has announced billions in new military aid to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has embarked on a crucial diplomatic mission to Italy and the Vatican, where he is expected to hold talks with senior officials in the Italian government and the Roman Catholic Church.
Upon his arrival, Zelenskyy tweeted that it was "an important visit for approaching victory of Ukraine."
In Rome, Zelenskyy had separate meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Meloni promised Italy's full support to Ukraine in its efforts to repel Russia's "brutal and unjust aggression." Speaking alongside Zelenskyy, she said Italy would continue to supply Ukrainewith weapons and back his country for as long as necessary.
"We are betting on Ukraine's victory," Meloni added.
The Italian prime minister also restated her backing of Ukraine's EU bid.
The Ukrainian leader's trip marks his first visit to Italy since Russia launched its full-scale invasion early last year.
Following his talks with Mattarella and Meloni, Zelenskyy headed to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis.
"I'm grateful for his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians," Zelensky wrote on Twitter. "I spoke about tens of thousands of deported children."
"In addition, I asked Pope Francis to condemn Russian crimes in Ukraine. Because there can be no equality between the victim and the aggressor," he added, saying that he'd also asked the head of the Catholic Church to support Kyiv's 10-point peace plan.
"The pope assured his constant prayer, paid witness to by his many public appeals and by his continued invoking of the Lord for peace, since February of last year,'' the Vatican said.
The pope had hinted to journalists that a Vatican "mission" to try to end the war was currently underway, a statement to which both Moscow and Kyiv publicly expressed surprise. The Vatican has maintained that something is in the works without providing any specifics. The 86-year-old pontiff has repeatedly called for peace and offered to mediate between Kyiv and Moscow,
Earlier this week, Francis met with Russia's outgoing ambassador to the Vatican, Alexander Avdeev. Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported the Vatican may have given Avdeyev a letter for Russian President Vladimir Putin.