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6 May, 2024 01:52

Zelensky can’t force God to fight – Russian church

The Ukrainian leader previously claimed that the Almighty is Kiev’s “ally” in the fight against Moscow
Zelensky can’t force God to fight – Russian church

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky cannot enlist God in Kiev’s fight against Moscow, the Russian Orthodox Church has said, rebuking a statement Zelensky made during his Easter Sunday speech.

In a video address, Zelensky described God as “an ally” of Ukraine who “has a chevron with the Ukrainian flag on his shoulder.”

“The Lord is not a resident of Kiev Region for Zelensky to mobilize him and put him in the Ukrainian army. His statements don’t merit any attention,” Vakhtang Kipshidze, the head of the Russian church’s public relations department, told news outlet news.ru.

Kipshidze blasted the Ukrainian leader as “a non-believer” who “claims that he can decide for God whose ally he is.”

Kiev has stepped up its crackdown on its largest church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), accusing its clergymen of being “agents of Moscow.” The UOC renounced its historical ties with Moscow after Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring state in February 2022. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian authorities have launched criminal cases against more than 60 priests and seized a number of monasteries and other assets in favor of the state-backed Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).

Last year, the Ukrainian government introduced a bill that would pave the way for an eventual ban of the UOC. The legislation, however, has since been stalled.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has condemned the campaign against the UOC, denouncing it as a violation of religious rights.