Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal, a leading official of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada, has been criticised for reiterated key Kremlin propaganda to defend the war in Ukraine.
In a recent interview, the official claimed that the unprovoked invasion was justified and criticised Canada’s sanctions against the church’s patriarch as being “ridiculous.”
The head of the church’s hierarchy, Patriarch Kirill, will continue to be remembered in services, according to Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada, who referred to Ukrainian forces as “neo-Nazi” and motivated by “demonic” forces.
His comments highlighted how even some Canadians with ties to Russia accept the Kremlin’s misinformation about the conflict and support its policies, even as numerous governments and human rights groups blame Moscow for committing widespread war crimes.
Gabriel shared his thoughts on the war with Pravoslavie.ru, a website dedicated to church news.
“Russia was forced to take steps to protect itself from the neo-Nazis who were shelling civilians in Donbass for eight years, and continue to this day.”
Gabriel stated the following about Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24: “Ukrainian nationalists who for many years were killing peaceful citizens … They don’t act in a Christian way but at the instigation of demonic powers — there is no other way to call that absolutely barbaric, reckless nationalism they profess.”
Despite the fact that President Vladimir Putin and his supporters have referred to Ukraine’s military and government as Nazi or neo-Nazi, far-right parties failed to secure any seats in the most recent parliamentary elections, and President Zelesnsky is a Jew who lost relatives in the Holocaust.
The remarks of the archbishop drew a harsh critique from the office of Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly.
“Mr. Chemodakov’s comments are unacceptable, and they should be denounced for what they are: Russian disinformation,” spokesman Adrien Blanchard said. “The fact is that Russia is fighting a war of choice against Ukraine and Russian forces are committing atrocities on a massive scale.”
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