MOSCOW, April 2. /TASS/. The developments around the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra will be the moment of truth, which will show if the people of Ukraine are ready to stand up for their values, Rodion Miroshnik, former ambassador of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) to Moscow, told TASS on Saturday.
"It would have suited [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky best if the expulsion of Orthodox Christians from churches had gone quietly, without any protests, without showing the entire world that the dictator went far further than many other vile despots. Brandishing a club, he went against the traditional religious denomination, against the 1,000-year history of Eastern Orthodoxy in Rus. Now it is the moment of truth for the Ukrainians: whether they are ready to stand up to defend their values or agree to crawl on their knees," he said.
According to Miroshnik, the Ukrainian authorities "believe that now is the right time to finalize the process of dehumanization of the Ukrainians, by neglecting the norms of law, morality, and conscience, by turning arms against civilians."
"They have already been deprived of their native language and history, and taking away their faith will turn the people into a herd. And this herd can be raced into any slaughterhouse, Zelensky thinks that if he backs down on the Lavra, it will be perceived as his weakness, so he will resort to any tactics, including dispersals and arrests, as well as jailing, hunting and assassinating leaders," the former ambassador added.
The situation around the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra escalated to the boiling point after the monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had refused to leave the monastery by order of the directorate of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Historical and Cultural Reserve. On March 30, a commission of the Ukrainian Culture Ministry arrived at the Lavra for a property inventory but the clergy led by Metropolitan Pavel alongside parishioners did not let them in, and did the same on the following day. On Friday, scuffles broke out near the walls of the monastery, and there were reports about a potential attack. On Saturday, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) charged Metropolitan Pavel with inciting religious hatred and justifying Russia’s actions in Ukraine.