Pope Francis said in an interview published on May 3 that he has asked for a meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to stop the conflict in Ukraine.

Iran PressEurope: Popes for decades have sought to visit Moscow as part of the longstanding effort to heal relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, which split with Rome more than 1,000 years ago. But an invitation has never been forthcoming.

“Of course, it would be necessary for the leader of the Kremlin to make available some window of opportunity. But we still have not had a response and we are still pushing, even if I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting at this moment,” Francis was quoted as saying by the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Francis has given a handful of interviews of late to friendly media emphasizing his call for an end to the conflict and initiatives to provide humanitarian relief to Ukrainians. 219