Pope Francis received Julia Fedosiuk and Kateryna Prokopenko, two Ukrainian banderites and the wives of Azov regiment fighters. They were accompanied by a member of the group Voïna (War) and spokesperson for the Pussy Riots, artist Piotr Verzilov.

The pope, with his guests, prayed that the Azov regiment would not surrender, but that God would save it by inspiring the creation of humanitarian corridors for the soldiers.

There are three Roman Catholic Churches in Ukraine. One of them is the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church which allied itself with the Banderites and the Nazis during the Second World War, instigating the massacre of the Jewish populations. It currently represents 8% of the Ukrainian population. Throughout the Cold War, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was a member of the Anti-Bolshevik Nations Bloc (ABN). The Soviets tried to sanction its hierarchy and to draw its followers into the Orthodox Church. Upon the dissolution of the USSR, the Vatican, very embarrassed, tried out several solutions before finally recognizing the “Uniates”.

Pope Francis had initially announced that he would consecrate Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, in keeping with the wish passed down by the seers of Fatima (1917). He then retracted when he realized that, for many, such an initiative would have justified a crusade against Russia. He then consecrated instead the whole world to the Heart of the Virgin.