The Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Ukraine has drafted another sanctions package against persons persecuting the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the occupied Crimea.
"On Sunday, August 8, 2021, representatives of the so-called 'Centre for Combating Extremism' of the Russian occupation regime in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, headed by Major M. Gorevanov, broke into the monastery of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki of the Crimean Diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is located in the village of Balky, Bilohirsk district. Russian enforcers forced the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Damian, to stop the service," the ministry's press service said.
It is noted that the invaders motivated such actions by the fact that the service allegedly violates Russian law, namely, the decision of the so-called "Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Crimea." Protocols were drawn up for all participants in the service.
The Ministry of Reintegration regards this as another act of pressure from the Russian occupation administration on residents of the temporarily occupied Crimea and condemns the gross violation of the rights of Ukrainian citizens to freedom of conscience and religion.
"Ukraine will continue to identify those involved in such violations for the imposition of sanctions against them. Now the Ministry of Reintegration has already drafted a sanctions package against persons hindering the activities of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, it is expected that its adoption by the Cabinet of Ministers will take place in the coming days," the statement said.
According to the ministry, the said draft act proposes the imposition of restrictive measures against judges of the Russian Federation and other officials involved in the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church community in Crimea – in particular, in the illegal seizure of the premises of the Cathedral of Saints Equal to the Apostles Prince Volodymyr and Princess Olga in Simferopol, others religious buildings, damage to church property and persecution of the community.