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Russia condemns eviction of monks from Kyiv monastery

The Kremlin on Thursday condemned alleged pressure by Ukraine on the Russian Orthodox Church and its clergy, following the eviction of monks from the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery in that country’s capital Kyiv.

“We strongly condemn these actions. We condemn the pressure that is being exerted on the clergy, which is being exerted on the ROC (Russian Orthodox Church),” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a press briefing in the capital Moscow.

Peskov suggested that Moscow could evacuate the clergy members from the monastery to Russia, should the monks so choose, adding that “no one will remain indifferent to their future fate.”

The European Solidarity party in Ukraine, led by former President Petro Poroshenko, announced a draft bill on Nov. 23 to ban activities of the Russian Orthodox Church in the country.

It came a day after the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) raided the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra — a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with other monasteries.

Security forces claimed to have uncovered pro-Russian literature, cash, and forged documents from the buildings.

On March 10, Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said on Telegram that the contract for the use of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) would be terminated on March 29, based on the monastery’s alleged “violation of the terms of the agreement on the use of state property.”

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church split from Moscow in May because of Russian Patriarch Kirill’s blessing for Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

There are suspicions that it is being used by the Kremlin to sway public opinion in Ukraine.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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