The Pontiff said the Vatican is "still pushing" for the meeting "even if I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting at this moment.”
The pope also condemned the European Union for turning away migrants.
Pope Francis has held his first general audience with a live crowd in six months, as restrictions ease after the coronavirus pandemic. About 500 people attended, nearly all of them wearing masks and keeping social distancing.
Pope Francis took the extraordinary measure despite a health issue that prompted him to cancel other engagements.
Francis added his Christmas greetings in the form of another public brow-beating of Vatican clerics, who normally are treated with the utmost deference.
“It’s a bit strange, because humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines,” the Pontiff said.
The pontiff, 84, had half of his colon removed last week for what the Vatican said was a “severe” narrowing of his large intestine.
The Church wants to correct the “myths and disinformation” that are slowing the fight against the coronavirus.
Matteo Villardita, who wears the webslinger outfit to visit kids in hospitals, also gave the Pontiff a spare mask.
The Vatican also criminalized the “grooming” of minors or vulnerable adults by priests to compel them to engage in pornography.