Ukraine updates: Orthodox monks in Kyiv refuse eviction
Ukraine updates: Orthodox monks in Kyiv refuse eviction

Ukraine updates: Orthodox monks in Kyiv refuse eviction

The Orthodox monks accused of Russia links have been ordered out of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery. But they refuse to vacate the complex. DW has the latest.

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Orthodox monks who've been ordered out of a monastery in Kyiv refused to leave on Wednesday, as a deadline to vacate the complex expired.

The dispute over the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery, Ukraine's most revered Orthodox site, is part of a wider religious conflict playing out in parallel with the war.

The monks using the property belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which has been accused of links to Russia.

But the site is owned by the Ukrainian government, and the agency overseeing the property notified the UOC earlier this month that, as of March 29, it was terminating the lease.

Metropolitan Pavel, an abbot of the monastic complex, told worshippers that the UOC would not leave the site pending the outcome of a lawsuit it filed in a Kyiv court last week to stop the eviction.

No attempts to evict the monks were made on Wednesday but Pavel said the UOC had been notified that the handover of the property would begin on Thursday.

The Ukrainian government has been cracking down on the UOC over its historic ties to the Russian Orthodox Church, whose leader, Patriarch Kirill, has supported Russian President Vladimir Putin in the invasion of Ukraine.

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning the war in Ukraine on Thursday, March 30:

Wall Street Journal reporter detained in Russia for spying

A reporter for The Wall Street Journal has been detained in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg over suspicions of espionage, the Interfax news agency said on Thursday, citing the Federal Security Service (FSB).

"The FSB halted the illegal activities of US citizen Gershkovich Evan ... a correspondent of the Moscow bureau of the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal, accredited with the Russian Foreign Ministry, suspected of spying in the interests of the American government," an FSB statement said, according to Russian news agencies.

The statement said Gershkovich had been tasked "by the American side" with gathering information on "the activities of one of the enterprises of the military-defense complex." 

The FSB provided no evidence of the charges against the reporter. 

Russia detains man sentenced to prison after daughter's anti-war picture
Alexei Moskalyov, who was sentenced to two years in prison for discrediting the Russian military and whose daughter was taken into state care, has been detained after fleeing house arrest, human rights activist and lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov told Reuters news agency on Thursday.

Moskalyov was prosecuted for social media posts following an anti-war drawing made by his daughter that depicted missiles flying over a Russian flag at a woman and child and said "No to war" and "Glory to Ukraine."

Earlier, European Commission spokesman Peter Stano tweeted that Moskalyov's sentence was "a total disgrace."

Russia stops sharing missile test info with US

Russia will no longer give the US advance notice about its missile tests as envisioned under a nuclear pact the Kremlin has suspended, a senior Moscow diplomat said Wednesday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies that Moscow has halted all information exchanges with Washington under the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the US after suspending its participation in it last month.

Along with the data about the current state of the countries' nuclear forces routinely released every six months in compliance with the New START treaty, the parties also had exchanged advance warnings about test launches and deployments of their nuclear weapons.

Such notices have been an essential element of strategic stability for decades, allowing Russia and the United States to correctly interpret each other's moves and make sure that neither country mistakes a test launch for a missile attack.

Meanwhile, as part of the Russian drills that began Wednesday, Yars mobile missile launchers will maneuver across three regions of Siberia, Russia's Defense Ministry said. The movements will involve measures to conceal the deployment from foreign satellites and other intelligence assets, the ministry said.

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Spain to send six Leopard tanks to Ukraine in coming weeks

Spain plans to supply Ukraine with 10 German-made Leopard battle tanks of the older 2A4 type — with six to arrive in the next two weeks — but will not send Kyiv fighter jets, Defense Minister Margarita Robles said.

The other four tanks will have to be sent at a later date because they must undergo repairs to make them fit for service, she said during a parliamentary debate on Spanish military aid to Ukraine.

The dispatch of fighter jets was "categorically" ruled out by the minister. She said Spain does not have F-16 fighter jets of the type Ukraine would like to obtain. Other models are out of the question because Ukrainian pilots would need a training period of up to two years, Robles argued in the lower house of parliament.

Ukraine hits city inside Russian-controlled territory

Russian authorities said Ukrainian forces had struck a railway depot and knocked out power in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region.

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The city lies around 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the frontline and analysts have said it could be a target for a highly-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive.

dh/sri (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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