The Russian Orthodox Church is once again failing to recognize Russia’s involvement in the occupation of Crimea and its support for terrorists in the temporarily occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. A spokesman for the UOC-MP (Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine), Archpriest Mykola Danylevych, supported the opinion of pro-Russian MP Vadym Novinsky, echoing the idea that the war between Russia and Ukraine exists only on TV.
On February 15, Danylevych published Novinsky’s quote on his Telegram channel.
“The war will end the way it started – on TV,” Danylevych wrote.
At the same time, the spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church published a video with Novynsky’s comment, claiming that “the war between Russia and Ukraine will end, just as it began – on TV.”
On February 18, ROC spokesman Mykola Danylevych published a quote from a letter from the Russian government to the United States. “There is no and no scheduled ‘Russian invasion’ of Ukraine, which has been officially announced by the United States and its allies since autumn of last year,” reads the quote that the cleric of the ROC branch in Ukraine decided to highlight.
Thus, the ROCinU spokesman actually denies Russian crimes: the occupation of Crimea and certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. By denying Russian aggression against Ukraine, the ROCinU considers the events that were unleashed in 2014 with the occupation of Crimea an “internal Ukrainian military conflict.”
A similar position (denial of war) is constantly expressed by People’s Deputy Olena Bondarenko, who appears in the ROC media and supports the Moscow Patriarchate. She does not consider Russia an enemy. Also, she says she does not recognize the OCU as a Church, and calls the granting of the tomos of autocephaly a move aimed against the Church.
Earlier, it was reported that the ROC branch in Ukraine believes they can help with the reintegration of Russian-occupied territories. At the same time, the ROCinU continues to provide comprehensive support to the Russian occupation forces in Crimea and Donbas, blessing military hardware and working out the optimal scheme of their priests to service in Russian combat positions. Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the ROCinU talks peacekeeping and forgiveness, as well as holds forums for “victims of persecution.”