Newsmax host Eric Bolling delivered a stinging rebuke Thursday night of Tucker Carlson, calling the Fox News host a tool of Russian propaganda after Carlson made recent criticisms of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Bolling used the opening monologue on his show to slam Carlson for charges he made Wednesday on his show, falsely claiming, among other matters, Zelenskyy was persecuting Christians.
Carlson has claimed Zelenskyy is shutting down churches, including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Bolling said Carlson did not share with his audience crucial information, including the fact Zelenskyy is not persecuting Christians or shutting churches down indiscriminately.
The Newsmax host said Ukraine did ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church because of its direct ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Yes, Zelenskyy banned the Ukrainian Orthodox church, and an anchor [Carlson] had something to say about that, but clearly without doing his research," Bolling said.
Bolling played a clip of Carlson claiming Zelenskyy "has sent soldiers into churches. Zelenskyy's secret police have raided monasteries across Ukraine, even a convent full of nuns, and arrested dozens of priests for no justifiable reason whatsoever, and in clear violation of the Ukrainian constitution, which no longer matters."
Bolling said, "That statement — and much of what came after that statement — is totally ignorant."
Bolling said Ukraine has two Orthodox churches, both independently governed, the Independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose leader Patriarch Kirill has been an unabashed supporter of Putin's.
"On March 6, Kirill preached holy war against Ukraine," Bolling said.
"Kirill's reputed wealth in the billions is thanks to his ties to Putin and long-suspected ties to Russia's spy outfits. So Kirill routinely urges his flock of millions to support Putin's war effort."
Bolling said Zelenskyy was simply suppressing an enemy faction in his country.
"He's banning a Putin mouthpiece, a blatant propagandist and someone who has validated Putin's killing spree since he moment of the invasion," Bolling said.
Bolling said Carlson was right for saying Zelenskyy has banned opposition parties and shuttering TV media outlets.
"But [Carlson] leaves out that the parties and those media outlets are funded and controlled by who? By Russia and Putin," Bolling said.
"In no way shape or form that I sit here and claim that Ukraine is perfect in what their decisions are, or a perfect country with perfect policies. I can assure you, however, that kind of perfection does not exist."
Bolling also objected to Carlson's claim Zelenskyy is more like Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin than he is George Washington.
"Wait a minute — what?" Bolling said. "The man responsible for terrorizing his country under whom concentration camps were opened — and who murdered anyone who opposed the Communist Party; who is known for merciless violence and started a manmade famine that also killed millions? What kind of misguided comparisons can he possibly make to say the least?"
"Fox is worried about nonexistent Christian persecution in Ukraine but says nothing of the persecution of Christian evangelicals in Russia — which really does exist," Bolling said.
Neither the Catholic Church nor Christian leaders like Franklin Graham, have reported any Christian persecution in the Ukraine. Graham's organization Samaritan's Purse does field work in and near Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Putin's regime has come under fire for targeting some evangelical groups in Russia and growing antisemitism.
Earlier this year, Moscow's chief rabbi Pichas Goldschmidt fled Russia.
He explained his reasons for departing, telling NPR, "We received reports of daily of mass arrests and new decrees and new laws which — the closing of all — the remnant of independent media and the most prominent members of civil society ... who were not totally connected to government, just leaving the country."
More recently, Russian officials have targeted Orthodox Jews and classified them as a cult.
In response, Goldschmidt said, "An attack by the Russian government against Chabad, as well as the attacks against the Jewish Agency for Israel, are antisemitic acts against all of us."
Goldschmidt has urged fellow Jews living in Russia to flee the country.
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