World, Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

Russian intelligence head claims situation in Ukraine has taken features of ‘religious war’

Kyiv, Western leaders seek not only to ban, but ‘literally physically destroy’ canonical Orthodoxy on Ukrainian territory, claims Naryshkin

Burc Eruygur  | 04.04.2023 - Update : 04.04.2023
Russian intelligence head claims situation in Ukraine has taken features of ‘religious war’


The head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service claimed on Tuesday that the situation in Ukraine has taken the features of a “religious war” amid recent actions taken by Kyiv with regard to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery.

“We understand that for Western capitals and Kyiv authorities, there are practically no red lines in matters of aggravation of religious conflicts. The situation in Ukraine has acquired the features of a religious war,” Sergey Naryshkin said in a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the country’s capital Minsk.

Naryshkin claimed that the Ukrainian government and Western leaders seek to not only ban, but also “literally and physically destroy” canonical Orthodoxy on the territory of the country.

“Western capitals understand and realize that in the conditions of the collapse of ideologies, the struggle for a new world order, canonical Russian Orthodoxy is the core, the spiritual force that continues to be the basis of the unity of Orthodox peoples,” Naryshkin further said.

The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, also known as the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, has been an important center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity since its foundation in 1051.

Tensions surrounding the monastery rose when Ukrainian authorities last week told monks to vacate the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra complex, an order they have resisted.

Metropolitan Pavel, the monastery’s abbot, was also placed under house arrest on charges of justifying Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Kyiv’s attempt to seize the monastery “is illegitimate in terms of law and immoral from a spiritual perspective,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

West persists in trying to convince Georgia to open so-called 2nd front against Russia

Naryshkin also claimed that Russia has seen the “persistent attempts” of Western countries to convince the Georgian leadership of the need to open a “so-called second front” because they see that the situation on the battlefield is not in favor of Ukraine, and that now is a good time to regain control over the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

He further claimed that Poland has not abandoned the idea of “taking control over the western territories of modern Ukraine,” which is why it opposes the peaceful settlement of the conflict and assures that it will provide assistance to the country.

"This situation aggravates the position of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. I would say that the Polish leadership is literally waiting for the right moment to exercise control over these territories," he said.

He also said Russia will be strengthening cooperation with Belarus in connection to the increase of “external threats.”

"I want to emphasize that our interaction is equivalent, representing equal, mutual interest. We have something stronger, something our Belarusian colleagues have. Indeed, in recent years, we have seriously strengthened our interaction to identify and prevent all external threats that face our countries, the Union State," he noted.

Meanwhile, Lukashenko thanked Russia for helping Belarus in the field of technical intelligence, adding that there has been an increase in the exchange of data in recent times.

“Recently, we have been exchanging intelligence data more intensively. And the quality of information has improved, this is primarily due to the intensification of the activities of the State Security Committee,” Lukashenko said.

He further said that without technology, it is “hardly possible to get good, reliable, solid information."

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