Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov highlighted threats to international peace and security posed by Ukraine’s policies on human rights, including religious rights and ethnic minorities.
“Cultural presence and opposition to negative trends through preserving the traditional values are directly related to religion and the activities by the Russian and Georgian Orthodox churches,” Lavrov said during a press conference.
He added: “In Ukraine, [the Russian Orthodox Church] is not a tool of Russian influence.”
The Russian diplomat asserted that it is an institution that preserves traditions and history in order to pass on these customs from generation to generation.
Lavrov concluded: “I have much respect for the stand taken by the Georgian Orthodox Church, which is defending these values. Generally, we have never had any problems with the Georgian people.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Ukrainian government submitted to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) a bill aimed at banning the canonical Orthodox Church that is affiliated with Russia.
The bill was initiated by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal under the directives of President Vladimir Zelenskyy.