The Russian Orthodox Church, which counts millions of followers, is a threat to the Ukraine’s national security. So said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on July 28.

The influence of the Russian Orthodox Church is a “direct threat to the national security of Ukraine”, Poroshenko said

Speaking during ceremonies marking 1,030 years since the conversion to Christianity, Poroshenko said the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church is a “direct threat to the national security” of his country. He said “this obliges us to act”.

The Orthodox Church in Ukraine is split between the largest branch whose clerics pledge loyalty to the head of the Russian church, Patriarch Kirill, and one that is overseen by Kiev-based Patriarch Filaret.

“I believe it is absolutely necessary to cut off all the tentacles with which the aggressor country operates inside the body of our state,” Poroshenko said of the Russian church.

As reported by the Kyiv-based Unian news site online, Poroshenko stressed that an independent Ukraine deserved a national church truly independent of Moscow.

However, the Moscow Patriarchate whose parishes prevail in Ukraine has never recognised the Ukrainian Patriarchate.