17 Aug 2023 21:57

Russia calls on int'l community to intervene in Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra situation

MOSCOW. Aug 17 (Interfax) - The blockade of the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra must be lifted, the torment of the people inside the monastery must end, and the international community should urgently step in, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said on its website.

"Following the decision by a business court in Kiev to evict the monks from the Lavra, the police's special forces stormed the cloister, having cut off the padlocks and seized several buildings housing the monastic fraternity and pilgrims," the ministry said in a statement regarding the storming of the lavra by the Kiev regime.

"We call on all people of good will and those convinced of the need to stand up for people's right to freedom of religion to prevent an egregious act of violence towards the monks and the believers of the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra. We demand that the blockade be lifted, that those inside should be left in peace, and that the Orthodox Christian shrine be allowed to function normally," the statement said.

"Once again, we draw the attention of international human rights organizations and courts, whom we have not noticed a reaction from, to the use of openly Nazi methods as well as the gross infringement of believers' rights [taking place] in the heart of Europe. Their goal is clear: to suppress people's freedom and force them to give up their beliefs, their faith. The international community must intervene urgently before the worst happens: the people inside the monastery [could] starve to death," it said.

On Tuesday the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) said on Telegram that at around 9 a.m. that morning Kiev police began storming three of the monastery's buildings.

Specifically, the buildings were numbers 54, 57 and 58, which house pilgrims and the monks. Eyewitnesses said policemen armed with assault rifles removed padlocks and entered the buildings.

Last Thursday, a court recognized the state's right to evict the monks from the lavra. The ruling was preceded by another court hearing, which concluded that the authorities' decision to terminate the UOC's lease of the buildings unilaterally was legal.