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Fake Pope Francis calls for the release of Pavlo Lebid, UOC-MP Metropolitan, from arrest

Anonymous telegram channels and Russian media broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric are spreading information that the Pope allegedly called on the Ukrainian authorities to release the vicar of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavlo Lebid (Pasha Mercedes). Pope Francis allegedly made such a statement during a personal conversation with the representative of the World Union of Old Believers Leonid Sevastianov. It's fake.

The fact-checkers of the StopFake project drew attention to the case. There is no information that Pope Francis called on the Ukrainian authorities to release Metropolitan Pavlo Lebid on any of the official resources of the Vatican and Pope Francis. Moreover, the Vatican website does not even contain information that he had a meeting with the head of the World Union of Old Believers, Leonid Sevastianov, in 2023. Some Russian media indicate that Pope Francis made such a statement during a personal meeting with Leonid Sevastianov. However, the head of the Union of Old Believers repeatedly made loud statements that did not correspond to reality. And that is why the Russian propaganda resources themselves are distrustful of his words.

We recall that on April 1, the SBU handed a suspicion under two articles of the Criminal Code to the Lavra’s abbot and Metropolitan of the UOC-MP Pavlo Lebid: incitement of inter-religious hatred (article 161 of the Criminal Code) and dissemination of materials justifying Russian aggression (article 436-2). Thus, the Russian propaganda is trying to discredit Pope Francis and the Ukrainian authorities, who allegedly detained the innocent Metropolitan of the UOC-MP.

Russian propagandists are trying to split Ukrainian society along religious lines. Earlier, Detector Media talked about the tactics of how Russian propaganda instrumentalizes religious issues for its own purposes.

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