Wednesday, May 25, 2022

    Following in Kremlin’s footsteps: ROC speaks against Ukraine’s NATO membership

    Fully repeating and supporting the Kremlin’s state policy and rhetoric, the ROC has called the Russian government’s demands to NATO not to deploy weapons close to Russia’s borders “quite natural.”

    In addition, the Moscow Patriarchate is upset that Russia has failed to persuade the United States not to accept Ukraine to NATO.

    This was stated by the head of the ROC Department of External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev) in an interview with Russia 24 TV, according to the Moscow Patriarchate’s press service.

    “It is only natural that Russia insists on certain security guarantees so that NATO weapons are not deployed immediately near its borders and are not directed at Russian cities,” said ROC Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev). “If we reach an agreement on this point in the next stages of negotiations, it will in itself give grounds for optimism. It’s too early to talk about the results, because there are no such results, but an important process has begun, which will continue, and we hope that it will lead to success.”

    He also expressed joy that Russia and the United States continue to discuss a ban on the deployment of NATO weapons that could engage targets in Russia.

    On January 10, 2022, talks between Russia and Western nations on security issues took place in Geneva (Switzerland). Russia has insisted on legally binding guarantees on several points: that NATO not accept new members and recall its decision to admit Ukraine and Georgia to the alliance, voiced at the 2008 Bucharest summit; that the organization renounce logistical support for the countries that joined the alliance after the signing of the Russia-NATO Basic Act in 1997 – the effort Russia sees as a threat; and that the military bloc not deploy weapons capable of hitting targets on Russian territory.

    Following the talks on January 10, without making progress on the first two points, the parties agreed to continue discussions on the latter point.

    “The parties touched on three points, on two of which no agreement was reached, but negotiations on one point will continue. In my opinion, this is good, because in a situation of confrontation between the two great powers, any concessions already indicate the readiness of the parties for rapprochement,” said the head of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

    It should be recalled that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Washington of involvement in the crisis in world Orthodoxy. The ROC also said it was not they who were wreaking havoc on Orthodoxy, but that the Ecumenical Patriarchate was harming Russia.