Ukraine’s Secret Service SBU has raided a historic monastery they claim was claimed by Russian forces. The raid operation in Kyiv was aimed at preventing the site from any use by Russian agents for sabotage, intelligence, or weapon caching.
The Pechersk Lavra Orthodox Church is a historical land piece in Ukraine that dates back to the 11th Century and has now become a seat of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church.
The Church split after the Russian invasion and is now away from Moscow’s patriarchate.
The Kremlin said that the raid was Ukraine’s answer against Russian Orthodoxy.
The security service SBU announced on Tuesday that they would be carrying out “counterintelligence operations” to target Russian special agents’ suspicious or potentially subversive activities. They said these measures prevent the risk of sabotage, attacks, or hostage-taking in places that attract a large population.
The monastery, tagged by UNESCO World Heritage as one of the churches raided by the secret service on Tuesday. Most authorities respond to complaints that the action itself glorifies Russia and could work in their favor.
A criminal inquiry was carried out after a video of pro-Russia propaganda emerged last week that referred to the reawakening of Mother Russia.
A few days later, the head of the diocese in central Ukraine was arrested and charged with preparing propaganda leaflets that backed the Russian invasion.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov charged that Ukraine was “at war” with the Orthodox Church for a long time. Patriarch Kirill condemned an “act of intimidation of believers.”
As head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill is widely seen as Vladimir Putin’s ally and has publicly endorsed the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.
Soon after the invasion began, he painted the war as a struggle of “metaphysical significance” against sin and Western pressure to hold “gay parades,” taking advantage of his “metaphysical privilege.”
He added that anyone who enlists in Russian combat behaves “as though they are committing a sacred act.”
In Ukraine, raids were generally favored since the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) had been independent of the Soviet Union for several months just last year, and concern that it might still be used to manipulate public opinion in the country.
The Ukrainian Orthodox congregation of the rest of the United States joined a national new church organization in 2018 that the worldwide Orthodox Church movement has since granted autonomy.
Ukrainian political analyst Valentyn Hladkykh said that clerics and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church eventually had to choose which side they served. “God or the Kremlin executioner.”
This year has been tough for Ukraine due to the upcoming winter season, which is all for survival, plus a very controversial raid carried out. Let’s see how Ukraine deals with these issues while facing the Russian armed military on the fronts.