This was said by Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Russian president, commenting on the possibility of Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine’s church issue, Censor.NET reports referring to RIA Novosti media outlet.
"If the developments show signs of illegal actions, then – as Putin (Russian President Vladimir Putin - Ed.) repeatedly said – Russia will certainly protect the interests of the Orthodox faithful in the same manner as Russia protects the interests of Russian speakers. This is an absolutely reasonable and absolutely clear position," Peskov said commenting on fake news concocted by the Kremlin-sponsored media that Ukraine-based Moscow Patriarchate churches allegedly face attacks and hostile take-overs of their assets.
He said, however, that Russia will respond to the said actions "exclusively through political and diplomatic means."
As reported, hierarchs on Sept. 2 held meetings (Synaxis) of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) to confirm that the Church of Constantinople is authorized, without the consent of other churches, to grant autonomy, or autocephaly, to a church that has requested it. This paves the way for autocephality of Ukraine's church. Further measures, such as the adoption of documents at the Synod, are expected to be taken in October.
Subsequently, on Sept. 7, Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed two Exarchs in Kyiv as part of preparations for granting autocephaly to Ukraine's Orthodox church. "Within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed as its Exarchs in Kyiv His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States, and His Grace Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton from Canada, both of whom are serving the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful in their respective countries under the Ecumenical Patriarchate," the Ecumenical Patriarchate said in an announcement.
On April 17, 2018, President Poroshenko said Ukraine was closer than ever before to creating an autocephalous united local church.
Pursuant to the instruction of Poroshenko, on April 20, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Rostyslav Pavlenko visited Istanbul and handed over to His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the Appeal of the President of Ukraine on granting the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
He also handed over the Verkhovna Rada’s resolution on the support for the President’s Appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also received the appeals of the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches on granting the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
On Oct.11, 2018, Ecumenical Patriarchate has decided to proceed to the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.