Robert Amsterdam, a Canadian attorney with the international law firm Amsterdam and Partners, joined Tucker Carlson to discuss the Ukrainian government’s shocking repression of the ancient Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Since the start of the war in wider Ukraine last winter, the Ukrainian government has taken a number of hardline steps to suppress all things Russian. This includes the shuttering of television stations, disbanding political parties and even banning of art, music and literature deemed to be pro-Russia or of Russian origin.
The government has also taken steps to suppress the Ukrainian Orthodox Church — a Christian sect that has played a large role in the region’s identity for more than 1,000 years — by claiming that it has ties to the Russian government. Steps taken against the church include the shuttering of places of worship and jailing priests.
On Thursday, Tucker Carlson discussed the ongoing situation in the 33rd episode of Tucker on X, highlighting chilling parallels with other recent U.S. interventions.
“If you take three steps back, a lot of what’s happening around the world seems like an attack on Christianity. Thanks to the Neocon project, virtually the entire ancient Christian population of Iraq was eliminated. The US government, under several presidents, has funded, effectively, the killing of Christians in Syria,” Carlson began. “And this continues throughout the Middle East and in Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, the most obvious example. The Ukrainian government has now banned an entire Christian denomination and virtually no one in the United States has said anything about it.”
The former Fox News host then turned to Amsterdam, who has worked on cases around the world, including several against the Russian government. He is currently representing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“Five years ago, the Ukrainian government, in its wisdom, set up what is called an autocephalous church, an independent church, independent of Russia, any connection to the Russian canons. And decided that that church should replace the spiritual home of Ukrainians,” Amsterdam explained.
“That church, called the OCU, has been engaged in an absolutely vicious, unlimited campaign to steal property, harass, intimidate, and jail clerics, force conscription on believers, act in a manner that is almost unbelievable in a civilized society,” he continued. “And they’ll use the excuse that this church, which by the way completely separated from Moscow in May of last year, is somehow connected to the Russian FSB. But based on the testimonies I’ve reviewed, there seems to be little substance to this allegation. And in fact, there are other institutions in Ukraine, like the secret police, who have been far more infiltrated by Russia than this particular church.”
“Yet there is a reason for it, and it’s a sad reason. The politicians in Ukraine, including perhaps the president, want to take the populist vote of those behind this new church and therefore feel it is in their political interest to destroy this ancient branch of Christianity,” Amsterdam explained. “And I absolutely can tell you that the damage that has been visited on the leadership of this church, including five-year jail sentences for 75-year-old clerics, just astounds you that in the 21st century, a country that wants to join the EU would ban a religion, let alone an ancient Christian form of that religion.”
Carlson then noted that U.S. taxpayers are effectively funding the Ukrainian government and its armed forces. “So I think Americans have an interest in this. And if you ask Christian leaders in this country, and I have, shouldn’t we be concerned when the Ukrainian government, which we’re all for apparently, is banning a Christian denomination,” he said.
Prior to the start of the war, 52% of the population of Ukraine were members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.