Jailed Priests and Failed Alliances – WWIII Prelude News 14/07/23 – Vilnius NATO Summit, Religious Persecution Continues
In the aftermath of the Vilnius NATO Summit, Ukraine’s struggle against Russia took center stage, while Turkey played its diplomatic games. The alliance, while claiming openness to negotiate an end to hostilities, remains reluctant to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the Donbas region. Despite the optimism displayed by NATO, the reality on the ground shows Ukraine’s territorial losses and the lack of progress in its counteroffensive. Moreover, the depletion of Western nations’ weapons stockpiles leaves Ukraine in a challenging position.
Meanwhile, religious persecution continues to plague Ukraine, particularly targeting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Recent court decisions have altered the detention conditions for Metropolitan Pavel, the abbot of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery. This is part of an ongoing war against the church, viewed as a Russian influence and spy network by Ukrainian authorities. Concerns arise over the mistreatment of a revered religious institution and the removal of relics and icons from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, further exacerbating tensions.
The Vilnius NATO Summit: Ukraine’s Struggle and Turkey’s Games
In what can only be described as a gathering of the “Who’s Who” of Western military power, the Vilnius NATO Summit took place over two eventful days in Lithuania. Nestled on the doorstep of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it’s no wonder that the main topic of discussion revolved around Ukraine’s relentless battle against the Russian bear.
But let’s not forget the sideshows that provided some much-needed distraction from the grim reality on the ground. One of the notable issues at hand was Turkey’s stubborn refusal to allow Sweden into the exclusive NATO club. Their official complaint? Well, it seems that President Erdogan is still nursing a grudge over a book burning incident outside the Swedish embassy last year. Talk about holding a grudge longer than a marathon runner on steroids.
It’s clear that Erdogan’s priorities lie elsewhere, as he dances a diplomatic tango between NATO, the EU, and Russia. The man seems to have no particular allegiance, except perhaps to his own political survival and Turkey’s place in the Muslim world. The power plays continue, with Sweden left cooling its heels on the sidelines while the big boys and girls strategize.
Now, back to Ukraine. The NATO alliance made a grand gesture by proclaiming their openness to negotiating an end to hostilities with Russia. Admirable, right? Well, hold your applause. They conveniently forgot to mention that they refuse to recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea and the Donbas region. Talk about a stumbling block the size of Mount Everest. Negotiation with a hefty side of denial, anyone?
And what about Ukraine’s dreams of joining NATO? Well, sorry to burst their bubble, but no roadmap or official offer has been extended to them. It’s like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey and then snatching it away. The poor Ukrainians must be feeling like the kid who never gets picked for the dodgeball team.
But hey, don’t worry, folks. NATO remains convinced that Ukraine can hold its own against the Russian bear, even though they’ve lost a chunk of their territory and their much-anticipated counteroffensive has been stuck in neutral for what feels like an eternity. I guess hope really does spring eternal, even in the face of overwhelming odds.
Meanwhile, the supply of weapons from Ukraine’s Western allies has dried up faster than a puddle in the Sahara. It’s a classic case of “give until it hurts” followed by “oops, we’re fresh out.” Sorry, Ukraine, but it looks like you’re on your own. Maybe they can fashion slingshots out of leftover NATO meeting agendas.
So there you have it, folks. The Vilnius NATO Summit provided us with a grand display of Western military power and political gamesmanship. Ukraine continues to struggle, Turkey continues to pout, and the world watches with a mix of hope, cynicism, and a healthy dose of skepticism.
Religious Persecution Strikes Again: Ukrainian Orthodox Church Under Fire
In yet another distressing blow to religious freedom, the Ukrainian Security Service and Kiev’s district court have conspired to tighten their grip on Metropolitan Pavel, the abbot of the revered Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery. A recent report from the Ukrainian online newspaper Strana reveals that the court has decided to shift his detention conditions from round-the-clock house arrest to custody with a lofty bail requirement of over 33 million hryvnas (roughly $900,000). Talk about putting a heavy price tag on faith.
Let’s not forget that this is just one piece of the puzzle in an ongoing assault against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is shamefully branded as a Russian influence and spy network within Ukraine. While it’s true that there may be some connections between the Church and Russia, the Ukrainian authorities have taken it upon themselves to commit multiple religious crimes against a church deeply rooted in one of Ukraine’s most sacred sites, the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. This revered institution represents the beliefs and values of millions of Ukrainian citizens. Shouldn’t they have considered a less aggressive approach, like simply exiling the Metropolitan to Russia or nearby friendly Belarus? But alas, reason seems to be a scarce commodity.
This religious persecution has been a recurring theme for quite some time. Back in January, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, in a move that left civilized nations scratching their heads, stripped the citizenship of 13 Orthodox Priests through a royal decree. This followed a series of relentless raids on Orthodox Christian churches and associated buildings, all in the name of “maintaining the spiritual independence of the nation.” It’s worth noting that outside of the majority-Russian regions recently absorbed by Russia, there’s still a significant ethnic-Russian population in Ukraine. From their perspective, their faith is under attack, masquerading as a campaign against potential espionage. The continuous shelling of Orthodox churches in the Donbas and other Russian-controlled territories only serves to reinforce this belief. It’s a distressing continuation of the persecution suffered by Russian Orthodox Christians since 2014 and even earlier.
But the assault on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church doesn’t stop there. In a move that reeks of cultural and religious insult, plans are now underway to remove relics and icons—the most sacred objects in Orthodoxy—from the hallowed grounds of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. These invaluable treasures will be transported to museums in Catholic countries such as Italy, France, Germany, and the Vatican. It’s a pillaging reminiscent of colonial powers like the UK, who shamelessly filled their museums with cultural artifacts stolen from their former colonies. This complex is revered by both Ukrainians and Russians, regardless of their religious or secular leanings. The fear is that this looting will extend to all Russian Orthodox churches in Ukrainian-controlled territory. And let’s not forget the valid concerns about the lack of adequate safeguards to prevent these relics from ending up in the hands of unscrupulous private collectors.
It’s a dark time for Ukraine, a country that survives mainly through cash injections from the EU and the US, leaving corruption at an all-time high. This extraction operation puts the looting carried out by the Nazis during World War II to shame. The plight of religious persecution continues to cast a long shadow, tarnishing the image of a nation grappling with its own demons while trampling on the sacred beliefs and heritage of its people.