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Russia to stage provocations during Patriarch Kirill's Constantinople visit to tar Ukraine – analyst

In the view of the visit of the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church (headed either by Patriarch Kirill or Metropolitan Hilarion) to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople on August 31 for a meeting with the Patriarch Bartholomew on the issue of preventing the granting of the “tomos on autocephaly” for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Russian special services (FSB and SVR) are setting up in Ukraine a number of provocations to shape up an agenda favorable to Moscow, as well as planning destructive measures in Istanbul, Ukrainian OSINT analysts say.

According to sources of Ukraine-based Information Resistance community, the FSB has formed several groups of people under the guise of “Ukrainian pilgrims,” the IR coordinator, Dmytro Tymchuk wrote on Facebook Wednesday. These groups are set to arrive in Istanbul and, under the coordination of the SVR intelligence agency’s field office in Turkey, to carry out provocations against the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church, including those of a violent nature, with the acts intended to be portrayed as those performed by “patriotic and radical Ukrainians.”

Later, according to the plot elaborated by the Russian special services, once “Ukrainian patriots and radicals” are detained by local law enforcers, they will voice, including on cameras, the claim that that “they arrived in Turkey and carried out provocations upon the instructions of Ukrainian security services, while the entire mission is coordinated directly by Ukraine’s Presidential Administration”.

Russia intends to achieve the following key objectives:

– to try to discredit the Ukrainian authorities before the Ecumenical Patriarch, international community, and other local churches worldwide;

 – to form an additional narrative and strengthen the position of the ROC delegation ahead of the meeting, claiming that “the Ukrainian government and radicals persecute and intimidate representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate both in Ukraine and even in the Holy of Holies.”


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