The seventh Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church Archeparchy of Philadelphia warned on Thursday that Catholics, Muslims, and Orthodox face being crushed once Russia gains control of the war it started against Ukraine.

Religion News reported that Archbishop Borys Gudziak warned about the danger religious minorities face from Russia during an online panel discussion of Georgetown University's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. Gudziak highlighted two Holocaust memorials destroyed by Russian forces in Ukraine. He also criticized Russia's wrong portrayal of Ukraine as a Nazi state when it is led by a Jew, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"What is at stake for the people of faith is their freedom to practice their faith. Ukrainian Catholics, over the last 250 years, every time there's been a Russian occupation where they live and minister, they've been strangled," Gudziak said.

"All those who desire to live in freedom will lose a lot or everything. If there is an occupation, that is what is at stake for Ukrainians. What is at stake for Europe, for the broader world, is will there be an advance of systems, ideologies and worldviews that crush people?" He added.

Gudziak, who is also the president of Lviv's Ukrainian Catholic University, predicted that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine "will undoubtedly be crushed if there's a Russian occupation." The archbishop did not mention the fate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is separate from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The former church has remained faithful to the Moscow Patriarchate's Kirill, who highly supports Russian President Vladimir Putin. The latter, recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, has broken off from the Moscow Patriarchate. Kirill has continued to support Putin despite the unprovoked war Russia launched against Ukraine and even after the other leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church denounced the said violence.

Gudziak contradicted Kirill's support of Putin for denazifying Ukraine. The archbishop raised that Zelenskyy won 73% in the elections.

Other high leaders of the Orthodox churches have similarly condemned Kirill and Putin. Ukrainian Orthodox Church Spokesperson Archbishop Yevstratiy Zoria of the Kyiv Patriarchate even likened Putin to the anti-Christ. While Ukrainian Orthodox Church for the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Onufry urged both the patriarchates to be united against Putin for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Gudziak's warning echoed that of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom who said last month that the Russian "aggression toward religious freedom (in those territories) is an indicator that much worse will Russia expands into Ukraine."

Family Research Council Center Assistant Director Arielle Del Turco also shared the same sentiments after analyzing that any control Russia may have on Ukraine will create unchartered consequences on believers who are not affiliated with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Del Turco disclosed that churches in Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk not affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church suffer persecution. Houses of worship are raided, gathering worshipers are punished, and properties confiscated. Del Turco stressed that Putin is only using the Russian Orthodox Church to forward his political agenda. Thus, the need for Western leaders to step up against Putin's success.

The director emphasized that Ukraine's shared values with the West are worth defending. One of these values is religious freedom, which Christians should wholeheartedly join in fighting for.