Russia says US behind Ukraine's pressure on Moscow-linked Orthodox church

Russia's Foreign Ministry said late on Sunday that the US was behind the pressure that Ukrainian authorities have been exerting on the Russian-aligned wing of the Orthodox Church in Kyiv.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which Kyiv says has ties with Russia, defied an eviction order last week from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery in the capital. On Saturday, a top Ukrainian cleric from the church was sentenced to house arrest.

"It's no secret that the (President Volodymyr) Zelenskiy regime is not independent in its anti-clerical policy. The Orthodox schism, hitting this sphere of life, is a goal that has been long proclaimed in Washington," the ministry said in a statement, without providing evidence.

"The capture of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra by Kyiv's current authorities is an illegitimate act from a legal point of view and immoral from a spiritual point of view."




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