In his war against Ukraine, Putin can count on religious backing, and Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, is one of his most important propagandists. President Zelenskyy wants to cut the church's ties to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to stop the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church on spiritual life in his country. Ukraine must also defend its independence in the religious field, the head of state said in his daily video message. "We will never allow anyone to create an empire within the Ukrainian soul."
The Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church has traditionally had strong influence in Ukraine and claims numerous shrines there. At a session of the National Security Council, numerous facts about the connections of religious circles with the aggressor state Russia were discussed, Zelenskyj said. Therefore, the parliament should draw up a law banning religious organizations from having links with centers of influence in the Russian Federation. In addition, the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church should be checked for connections to the Moscow Patriarchate by means of a religious expertise.
Moscow's Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill supports Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin's war against the neighboring country. Selenskyj emphasized that the subversive attempts to exert Russian influence must also be prevented by Moscow's secret services. In addition, the structures must be reformed and the authorities given new powers to protect the interests of Ukrainians and the state, stressed the President, who this time addressed his compatriots in a black sweatshirt. "With this and other decisions, we will guarantee Ukraine's spiritual independence." Russia, on the other hand, accuses Ukraine of restricting freedom of religion.
Just last week, the Ukrainian domestic secret service SBU reported that it had confiscated "pro-Russian literature" and cash during raids on several Orthodox monasteries because of possible links to Russia. According to the information, a total of more than 350 church buildings were searched, including the Lavra Pechersk cave monastery in the capital Kyiv, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.