Metropolitan of Crimea and Simferopol Klyment calls the Russians seizing the OCU church in Crimea an "act of ethnocide"
He has called on the Ukrainian government, international partners, and the diplomatic corps to provide an appropriate assessment of the situation, as reported by Krym.Realii.
"This is the only Orthodox church that, during the nine years of Russian occupation of the peninsula, served as the main center of Ukrainian identity in Crimea. It is not only a religious but also a religious and cultural object... We need protection and special attention to this situation. The main task now is to preserve at least the relics, holy relics, icons, and sacred objects that remain there. I urge the Ukrainian authorities to give an appropriate assessment," Klyment said, quoted by the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center website.
Earlier, the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience commented on the seizure of the cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Simferopol by Russian forces.
"On May 11, 2023, Russian occupiers began looting the Cathedral of St. Volodymyr and Olga, the cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Simferopol. It is already known that they are breaking down doors and confiscating church property. This is another action aimed at suppressing freedom of conscience, carried out by the Russian Federation," the statement said.
In turn, the Russian authorities in Crimea intend to transfer the cathedral of St. Volodymyr and Olga, belonging to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, in Simferopol to the Russian Orthodox Church on the terms of "free use."
The Russian Ministry of Property and Land Relations of Crimea stated that the release of the cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Simferopol is taking place "on legal grounds."