Russian president uses Russian church to badger Ukraine


RISU, 27 April 2021


President Vladimir Zelensky responded to the accusation by Russian President Vladimir Putin about alleged mistreatment of the Russian language and Russian church in Ukraine. He spoke about this during a briefing on the occasion of granting a license for the use of the "KhOYaT-2" [storage facility for dry spent nuclear fuel] in Chernobyl.


"Historically, it has so happened that people who are very educated converse fluently in various languages. Now the young generation and all children speak English fluently, better than our generation. Everybody knows Russian, but we recall that our state language is Ukrainian. I consider that this is the continuation of the information narrative about restrictions on Russian-speakers. I do not see any problem here," he declared, UNIAN reports.


Relative to the church questions, Zelensky noted that in Ukraine the church is separated from the state. "I have never exploited the leaders of the churches in order to influence the populace from the point of view of the support of the electorate, and so forth. In our country they are absolutely free and the people are free, and people go to the church of their choice. That is correct," the Ukrainian head of state emphasized.


At the same time, Zelensky said, if during his possible subsequent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin these questions are placed on the agenda, then he is prepared to discuss them.


"But even if these questions are placed on the agenda during the meeting, if it occurs, then, sure, we will discuss them. I do not see there is any problem here," he concluded. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 April 2021)


RISU, 22 April 2021


On 22 April there was a meeting of Lukashenko with Vladimir Putin in Moscow. After this meeting, at a briefing, Putin was asked about relations with Ukraine. The head of the Kremlin accused the government of Ukraine of taking "many steps in order to destroy bilateral relations with Russia."


Among such steps Putin identified: "mistreatment of the Russian language in Ukraine," "attempt to destroy the Russian Orthodox Church," and "mistreatment of the rights of Russians and Russian-speakers."


Putin also said: "attempted destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church."


"There were very many steps aimed at the destruction of Russian-Ukrainian relations, which we can only regret. But if President Zelensky wants to begin to restore these relations, we will only welcome this," Putin said.


"What do we want to discuss at this meetings? If he is talking about discussing problems of the Donbass, then, in the first place, the leadership of Ukraine must meet with the leaders of the 'republics,' and then discuss problems with the representatives of third countries. If he is talking about bilateral relations, then we will receive the president of Ukraine in Moscow at any time that is convenient for him," Putin declared. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 April 2021)

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