All news

UN silence over situation around Kiev-Pechersk Lavra inadmissible — Russian MFA

Maria Zakharova stressed that total cleansing of "everybody and everything" was underway in Ukraine

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russia finds the silence of the UN Secretariat over the situation around the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra absolutely inadmissible, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday.

"We noted the absolutely unacceptable lack of comment from the UN Secretariat. The official spokesman [for the UN secretary-general, Stephane] Dujarric, being an experienced member of the Secretariat, holding this position for a second time, said that he had no information about what was happening to the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. But I don’t think that the Internet signal does not reach the UN Secretariat in New York, that there is no means of communication, that computers do not work, or that the telephones and TVs are turned off," she said.

"When we hear some say that there is no information in the UN, we cannot but ask a question: did we correctly notice the UN Secretary-General’s presence in Kiev on March 8? What was he doing there then, if literally a couple of days later his spokesman says he lacks information about the most tragic incidents in Kiev’s current life?" Zakharova said.

She stressed that total cleansing of "everybody and everything" was underway in Ukraine. "In recent days, this pressure reached an all-time high," she added.

On situation at Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

On March 10, an eviction notice was uploaded to the monastery’s website from the acting CEO of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Historical and Cultural Reserve, stating that the UOC-affiliated monks of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra must vacate the monastery by March 29, when the current lease expires. The notice clarifies that the working group that had identified a violation of the terms of the lease was established by a decree that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

The head of the Synodal Information and Education Department of the UOC, Metropolitan Clement, of Nezhin and Priluki, said on March 10 that the UOC could not fulfill the order issued to the monks of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra to leave its premises, because the order was illegal.

The rector of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel, said on March 13 that the monks would not obey the order to leave the monastery. Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy Alexander Tkachenko said earlier that UOC clerics would be prosecuted if "museum exhibits", including the relics of saints, disappeared from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

On March 14, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent letters to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Bujar Osmani, in which he called on them to demand that Kiev stop arbitrary actions against the canonical Orthodox Church and prevent the forced eviction of monks from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. The UN secretary-general’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said, answering a question from TASS about Lavrov's letter, that Guterres proceeded from the understanding that every country was obliged to guarantee the freedom of religion and the protection of religious sites.