The situation in Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine was among the topics of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 50-minute meeting with Pope Francis, the Holy See said in a press office communique on Thursday.

The sides “turned their attention to various questions of relevance to the life of the Catholic Church in Russia,” the communiques said. Apart from that, they focused on current issues of international politics, such as the situation in Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine.

“During the cordial discussions, both Parties expressed their satisfaction at the development of bilateral relations, further strengthened by the protocol of understanding signed today regarding the collaboration between the “Bambino Gesu” Paediatric Hospital and the paediatric hospitals of the Russian Federation. They then turned their attention to various questions of relevance to the life of the Catholic Church in Russia,” the press office said.

Putin and Pope Francis also touched upon environmental problems.

The Russian president also had talks with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

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