The Pope answered the questions of journalists on the plane during his return to Rome after the "Mediterranean Meetings" event in Marseille, France.

Asked whether he was disappointed by the lack of concrete progress so far from the initiatives of Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the special envoy for peace efforts in the Ukrainian war, Pope Francis said:

"It is true, there is some disappointment. The Secretariat of State (the Prime Minister) is doing everything to help this issue and Zuppi has gone there on a mission. (Ukrainian children taken to Russia) There is something good going on with the children, but it is not about the Ukraine-Russia problem, it is also about arms sales and the arms trade. A few months ago, The Economist pointed out that the biggest beneficiaries of investment today are arms factories. They are certainly factories of death."

Stating that Ukrainians have suffered a lot today and in history and that they are a martyred people, the Pope said, "We should not play games on the martyrdom of this people. We should help them solve their affairs as much as possible. Now I see that some countries are turning back, they are not giving weapons (to Ukraine). They are starting a process in which the Ukrainian people will be martyred and this is a bad thing."

Stating that he visited Lampedusa Island, which has recently been flooded with migrants in Italy, 10 years ago, and asked whether his messages of solidarity on this issue have failed, the Pope said:

"I would say 'no'. I can say that progress on this issue is slow. Today there is an awareness of the migration problem. There is an awareness. Angela Merkel once said that it should be solved by going to Africa and raising the level of the African people. But there have also been bad situations. There have been cases where migrants have been sent back like a ping-pong ball. It is known that they often end up in camps in worse conditions than before. Migrants should be welcomed, encouraged and integrated."

When asked whether he had spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron about this issue, Pope Francis replied as follows

"We did not discuss this today, but when he came to the Vatican, I made my opinion clear: Life is not to be played with, neither at the beginning nor at the end. My idea is to protect life. When he came, I said that life is not something to be played with. Whether it is a law against allowing a baby to grow in the womb or euthanasia in old age, it is not a matter of faith, it is a human matter. Life should not be tampered with."