Speaking on Ukraine’s United News telethon on Friday, March 31, Oleksiy Danilov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), said: “Russia is trying to create a certain image for its propaganda purposes, portraying the Ukrainian authorities as pressuring the representatives of the pro-Moscow clergy.”

In addition, he emphasized that Ukraine will not use force to expel the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) from the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. Everything will be done according to a legal procedure, Danilov added.

“The state’s decision will be implemented, and the state reserve [Pechersk Lavra complex] will be completely in the hands of Ukraine,” Danilov said.

According to him, everyone, regardless of their profession or occupation, must comply with the decisions made by the state. Danilov also assured that all the provocations currently being prepared by Russia will not be successful.

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As an example of such provocations, he cited recent episodes of clergy from the pro-Moscow UOC-MP seeking to block the work of journalists covering their eviction.

“I emphasize once again that everything will be done according to the law. The Lavra will be cleared of those people currently there,” the NSDC secretary assured.

Tension surrounding the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra continues as representatives of the UOC-MP and their supporters refuse to vacate the territory of the reserve.

Odesa Plays Puccini in Italian Parliament to Remember Full-Scale Invasion
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Odesa Plays Puccini in Italian Parliament to Remember Full-Scale Invasion

As Italy and Ukraine get ready to sign a security agreement, their cultural bonds are secured with a performance by the Odesa Orchestra in the Italian parliament.

On Friday morning, the Commission of the Ministry of Culture attempted to enter the Lavra again – ostensibly to assess the condition of state property and ensure that no national treasures had disappeared or been damaged – but was once again denied access. As a result, the commission concluded its work for the day.

Despite the ongoing conflict, clergymen of the UOC-MP have stated that they will continue to hold prayers both in the morning and evening and have no intention of leaving.

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