The Russian foreign ministry criticised Ukraine as “godless”, “wild” and “immoral” on Wednesday for raiding an old Orthodox Christian Monastery in Kyiv.
Ukraine’s SBU security service and police raided the 1,000-year-old Kyiv Pechersk Lavra complex – or Kyiv Monastery of the Caves – early on Tuesday as part of operations to counter suspected “subversive activities by Russian special services,” the SBU said.
The site is a Ukrainian cultural treasure and the headquarters of the Russian-backed wing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that falls under the Moscow Patriarchate.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, saying a “special operation” was needed to demilitarise the country. Ukraine and the West have dismissed this as a baseless pretext for a war of conquest that has killed thousands, displaced millions, and turned cities to rubble.
On Wednesday, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said there was no justification for the raid and compared the “Kyiv regime” to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine whose name is often associated in Russian with immoral mayhem, chaos and revelry.
“This is just some kind of total godless Bacchanalia. There is no justification or explanation for this. And there cannot be,” Zakharova said on Sputnik radio.
“This is another part of the absolutely immoral and wild actions of the Kyiv regime.”
Russia’s Orthodox Church said on Tuesday the search was an “act of intimidation”.