Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU) on Tuesday raided the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, a monastery in the capital Kyiv administered by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which said in May that it cut its ties with the Moscow Patriarchate.
“These measures take place jointly with the National Police and the National Guard within the framework of the SBU's systematic work to counter the subversive activities of the Russian special services in Ukraine,” said a statement from the agency.
The SBU further noted that these measures were placed taking into account “the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, the risk of committing terrorist acts, sabotage, and hostage-taking increases, especially in places with a large concentration of citizens.”
The statement also indicated that the measures intend to prevent the use of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra as “a center of the Russian world.”
“All actions take place within the limits of current legislation. We emphasize that, in its activities, the SBU adheres to the principle of impartiality towards the activities of any religious denomination and respects the right of every citizen to freedom of worldview and religion, as defined by the Constitution of Ukraine,” it added.
Separately, the SBU’s office in the Rivne region confirmed that measures were also implemented on the grounds of the Korets Holy Trinity Monastery and the premises of the Sarnenskyi-Polska Eparchy.
During a press briefing, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov defined the searches in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra "a link in the chain of Kyiv's actions against the Russian Orthodox Church."