ISW published material confirming that Russia is using religion as a tool to achieve military goals and discredit Ukraine. The Institute reports that probably using the "Christmas truce" as an example, Russia will again invite Ukraine to show respect for the holy holiday of Easter on April 16 and lay down their arms. Russia, which for 9 years of war has shown disrespect not only for religion but also for human life, plans to use this day to recharge its forces and delay the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
"Russian religious persecutions are likely also part of an ongoing Russian cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign aimed at extirpating the idea of an independent Ukrainian nationality or Ukrainian orthodox church," ISW.
Russian troops are "carrying out a campaign of systematic religious persecution in occupied Ukraine." According to ISW statistics, as of February 24, 2022, the Russians committed 76 acts of religious persecution, destroyed or forcibly transformed 26 Ukrainian shrines into the Russian patriarchate.
"Russians — ed.) killed or seized at least 29 clergy or religious leaders, and looted, desecrated, or deliberately destroyed at least 13 places of worship in occupied Ukraine. These cases of religious repression are not likely isolated incidents but rather part of a deliberate campaign to systematically eradicate "undesirable" religious organizations in Ukraine and promote the Moscow patriarchate."
This data does not include events from the very beginning of the Russian occupation in 2014, nor does it include the possibly unintentional destruction of Ukrainian shrines by the Russian army. According to the Kyiv institute for religious freedom, there are at least 494 such incidents.