It is no secret that the Crimean structures of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church actively support the Moscow Patriarchate’s occupation of the peninsula by Russia and the subsequent active militarization of the region by the aggressor. The formal, “canonical” subordination of Kyiv has not prevented the Crimean and Sevastopol church hierarchs from being involved in Russian military propaganda activities in Crimea since 2014.

Apparently having the appropriate “intelligence positions” in the south of mainland Ukraine, the aggressor hoped that, interaction with the church would follow the same “Crimean scenario” in the occupied Kherson and Zaporizhia regions. But in this dimension, the occupiers were disappointed, as allegedly “by definition” pro-Russian church structures refused, for their most part, to support the Russian occupiers – at least publicly.

Such “unexpected” religious figures’ behavior is explained by the inhuman regime established by the Russian invaders in the south of mainland Ukraine, by pro-Ukrainian sentiments of vast majority of the regions’ population, regardless of their religion, and regarding the public position of the Kyiv metropolitanate of the Moscow Patriarchate.

In addition, it is known that more than 400 priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, including Kherson and Zaporizhia oblasts, wrote to the Eastern Patriarchs demanding a church trial over Moscow Patriarch Kirill over the latter’s approval of Russian Nazism and aggression against Ukraine.

Trying to change the situation, the occupiers began a few weeks ago to blackmail the clergy of Kherson and Tavria actively and even publicly with “compromising materials” allegedly found by them in the Kherson regional office of the SBU. It is seen that the level of these “materials” obviously carried “in the worst case” information about local facts and did not significantly affect the situation.

Now, a week before Orthodox Easter, when the separation of church and Russian occupiers becomes apparent in many parishes in the Ukraine’s South, the occupiers are forced to urgently seek “forms of influence” on religious hierarchs. At the same time, the aggressor did not think of anything better than to announce “shelling of Easter services by Ukrainian nationalists” in the south of Ukraine through Russia’s own Ministry of Defense.

Thus, the Russian invaders directly threaten the structures of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to destroy churches and kill parishioners by Russian invaders as alleged “Ukrainians”, if priests continue to evade cooperation with the occupation “administration” in Kherson and Zaporizhia regions.