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In Photos: Orthodox Believers, Pro-Ukrainian Protesters Stand Off at Historic Kyiv Monastery

An ongoing dispute over the historic Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery came to a head last week as demonstrators rallied against a group of Orthodox monks who Ukrainian authorities accuse of having links to Russia.

Last month, the state body that oversees the Lavra terminated its contract with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, telling its members to leave the premises by March 30. But the church refused and filed an appeal against the decision.

The Ukrainian government said on March 29 that it would evict the priests if they did not willingly leave, though the process could take weeks. Despite the church officially breaking ties with the Russian Patriarchate after the invasion of Ukraine last year, Kyiv believes it remains de facto dependent on Moscow.

Moscow has accused the United States of being behind the pressure that Ukrainian authorities have been exerting on the church.