VATICAN CITY, Holy See - Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, head of the Italian bishops' conference, to lead a peace mission to try and stop the war in Ukraine, the Vatican said Saturday. Zuppi has been asked "to help ease tensions in the conflict in Ukraine, in the hope, which the Holy Father has never given up, that this can initiate paths of peace," Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said. "The timing of such a mission, and its modalities, are currently being studied," he added in a note. Francis first spoke of a possible mission on his return from a trip to Hungary last month, telling reporters "there is a mission in course now, but it is not yet public". He gave no more details. Zuppi, 67, was elected head of the Italian Episcopal Conference last year, and hails from the Sant'Egidio Catholic Community, which specialises in diplomacy and peace efforts. The Vatican statement came as G7 leaders in Japan met with President Zelensky and renewed their support for Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia in February 2022.