Moscow (AsiaNews ) - As tension rises between Russia and Ukraine - where the interim president Alexander Turchynov has signed an order authorizing a special intervention in the East against pro-Russian militias who have occupied several institutional buildings and are demanding autonomy from Kiev - the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate continues to make appeals for peace and the safeguarding of territorial integrity. "We strongly condemn the attempts to deprive Ukraine of its territory and to include them in other states" Metropolitan Atony of Boryspil and Brovary, administrator of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate said in an interview the UNIAN agency. "For this reason - he added - we are deeply concerned about the protests in Kharkov, Donetsk and Lugansk, we believe that they are a real threat to our state".
The Metropolitan has also stressed the importance of good relations between pastors and their faithful particularly now: "We encourage our priests to be patriots and not allow separatist sentiment to spread in the community". Antony then points out that the Ukrainian Church - Moscow Patriarchate (the only one that the latter recognizes canonically) has about 13 thousand parishes throughout the territory of Ukraine and not only in the east and south, traditionally Russian majority areas.
Despite its ties with Moscow - which could suggest an alignment with the Russian positions - the Ukrainian Church has always advocated the importance of territorial integrity against separatist forces, instigated - said the West -by the Kremlin. A few days ago, the leader of the Ukrainian Church, Metropolitan Onufry of Chernovtsy and Bukovina, personally wrote a letter to President Vladimir Putin, with an appeal to "avoid dividing the Ukrainian state and armed conflict between our two peoples."
The Russian leader, in his last call, April 14 , with U.S. President Barack Obama has rejected the accusations of Russian interference in Ukraine aimed at destabilizing the political situation, calling it "unfounded speculation". Moscow calls on the Ukrainian authorities to open up round table talks with all parties present on the ground in the region to draft a new Constitution. The two heads of state were, however, have agreed to meet after the summit on 17 April in Geneva (including the U.S., Russia , Ukraine and the EU ) to further discuss a "peaceful" solution to the crisis in Ukraine. ( N.A. )