Ukraine to initiate the strengthening of sanctions against the Russian Federation due to persecutions of the OCU in Crimea
This is reported by UNIAN.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine condemns the eviction of the community of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine from the Cathedral of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Volodymyr and Olha in Simferopol,” the statement reads.
According to the Foreign Ministry, this decision of the occupation authorities reflects the policy of systematic persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox community in the temporarily occupied Crimea.
So, just a week ago, the Russian occupation administration handed over to Archbishop Klyment of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church an order to demolish the temple in Yevpatoria. In March last year, the occupation administration unreasonably detained Archbishop Klyment himself; in April, they refused to register a local religious organization at his request; in June, they decided to terminate the lease of the premises where the current Cathedral was located; in July, under the guise of repairing the building, all the Church ware of the diocesan administration of this Cathedral was stolen.
“The persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox community in Crimea is aimed at erasing Ukrainian identity in the temporarily occupied territories and is part of a policy of oppression of all religious communities in Crimea that are not controlled by Moscow,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The largest-scale persecution was launched against Crimean Muslims. According to human rights activists, 71 Crimean Muslims are behind bars in fabricated cases.
Also, contrary to the norms of international humanitarian law, the Russian Federation extended its legislation to the Ukrainian Crimea, which outlawed about 8 thousand believers of “Jehovah's Witnesses”. The occupation administration imprisoned two members of this community for their religious beliefs.
The Foreign Ministry noted that the Russian occupation administration in Crimea abuses legislation on combating extremism and applies administrative law to combat religious communities.
“Administrative pressure is not only applied to the OCU. This year, the occupier-imposed fines for missionary activities on the Rabbi of the community of Messianic Jews and the Imam of the Alushta Muslim community.
In total, during the occupation, human rights defenders recorded 91 administrative cases against religious organizations and their members in Crimea, in which 73 administrative fines totaling more than 1 million rubles were imposed,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
At the same time, only Orthodox churches controlled by the Moscow Patriarch remain free from obstacles in their religious activities, the statement said.
“We call on the Russian Federation as an occupying state to comply with international law, including international humanitarian law, and to stop the oppression of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and other religious communities in Crimea,” the Foreign Ministry said.
At the same time, the Ministry for Reintegration of the Occupied Territories stated that Ukraine, in cooperation with international partners, will consider the issue of strengthening sanctions against persons involved in the persecution of the OCU on the territory of the annexed Crimea.
“Russia has illegally appropriated and disposes of the property of the Crimean community of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which violates the norms of international law,” said Deputy Head of the Ministry of Reintegration, Igor Yaremenko.
In March 2014, having sent in the troops, Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimea through organizing a “referendum” on its self-determination. The self-proclaimed Crimean government said that 96.77% were in favor of annexing Crimea to Russia. On March 18, the so-called "agreement" on the admission of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation was signed in the Kremlin. Western countries do not recognize the annexation of Crimea and have imposed several economic sanctions against Russia.