Ukraine accuses the Moscow-linked priest of inciting religious hatred


Ukraine war

April 1, 2023 | 6:42 p.m

Ukraine’s security service has accused a Moscow-backed Orthodox priest of inciting religious hatred and trying to justify the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

Petro Lebed, abbot of the 980-year-old Kiev-Pechersk Lavra – also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves – has been sentenced to 60 days in prison amid a crackdown on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church over accusations that it collaborates with it. Moscow.

Lebed was also ordered by the Kiev court, the church said, to wear an electronic bracelet.

The priest has since publicly denied the accusations.

“I did not do anything ,” Lapid said. “I think this is a political system.”

Ukraine’s TASS news agency reported that Lebed was ordered to live in a village about 25 miles southeast of Kiev, but Lebed said the house was not fit for living.

The priest said: “There is nothing to sleep, neither heat nor light.”

“There is no kitchen, no spoon. But it’s okay, I’ll put up with everything.”

Lapid had been staying at the monastery before, but the government ordered his departure from the church by midnight on Wednesday.

Lebed’s lawyer, Mikita Chekman, represented the priest during the hearing in the Kiev District Court.

But members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church refused to leave the monastery and did not allow government representatives to enter the building, causing a brawl to break out early Thursday morning.

Ukraine’s Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko condemned the “brutal” response given to government representatives and said a complaint had been lodged with the police.

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Russia has since expressed outrage at the crackdown on the Orthodox Church.

“Such actions are increasingly plunging Ukraine into the Middle Ages in the worst sense of the word,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram.

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