Dmytro Tymchuk, coordinator of Ukraine-based Information Resistance (IR) OSINT community, has said Russia is mulling to use the religious factor to destabilize the situation in Ukraine.
"According to IR, at a meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation on October 12, during the discussion of further prospects for the functioning of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine (following the decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church), Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the leadership of the security agencies of the Russian Federation to 'ensure the security of our metropolitans' by sending special forces groups of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) under wraps in the most important monasteries of the so-called 'Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate' ('UOC-MP')," Tymchuk wrote on Facebook on October 19.
"In turn, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov said the General Staff of the Armed Forces had already worked out plans for direct entry of mobile battle groups into the territory of Ukraine (under wraps) to defend the Kyiv-Pechersk and Sviatohirsk lavras. According to them, these religious objects are the first to 'come under attacks' by 'radical and armed militant nationalists,' which 'will threaten the lives of bishops and leaders' of the so-called 'UOC-MP,'" he said.
In addition, Russian military leadership said special forces groups have already being trained on the ground, namely on the basis of the New Athos Monastery in Abkhazia, for the implementation of these plans.
"Thus, the operation to destabilize the situation in Ukraine with the use of the religious factor has actually been developed at the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation," Tymchuk added.