The Kremlin’s statement on their readiness to "protect" Orthodox believers in Ukraine resembles Moscow's messages on "protection of Russian speakers," which were used as an excuse for unleashing the aggression against Ukraine, according to Marianna Betsa, the press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

“We heard similar statements by the Russian Federation about 'protecting the Russian-speaking population' as an excuse for its aggression against Ukraine,” Betsa tweeted, commenting on the Kremlin's corresponding statement.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the Kremlin vowed to protect the interests of Orthodox believers in Ukraine “politically and diplomatically”, claiming Moscow did not intend to interfere in the “interchurch dialogue.”

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Dmity Peskov, a press-secretary of the Russian president, made the statement on Friday, commenting on the decision of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to proceed to granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.

On October 11, following a meeting of the Synod, a decision was announced, stating that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceeds to granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. In addition, the legal binding of the Synod’s letter of 1686 was abolished, thus taking the Kyiv Metropolis from under Moscow's canonical jurisdiction. Also, head of the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate Filaret and head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Makariy were reinstated in their canonical status.