PARIS, December 12. /TASS/. The Russian mission at UNESCO on Monday said the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its priests by the government in Kiev represents an impingement on the right of freedom of religion.
"Kiev persecutes all those who don’t share the misanthropic ideology of aggressive nationalism. Now those that sit on Bankovaya Street have got around to freedom of religion," the mission said in a statement, referring to the street that houses the Ukrainian presidential administration.
The statement said nationalists they seize churches, conduct searches, burn icons, attack the clergy and believers, and freedom of speech in the country has been eradicated. "Infringing on the rights of citizens to freedom of conscience and religion, Kiev is moving from medieval barbarism to cave nationalism," the diplomats said.
On December 11, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council "On the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions)". Attached to the decree is a list of seven representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that were subjected to sanctions.
On December 1, Zelensky put into effect the decision of the NSDC concerning the activities of religious organizations in Ukraine that essentially seeks to ban the UOC. For example, he ordered that a bill be submitted to the parliament to ban "religious organizations affiliated with the centers of influence in the Russian Federation." He also directed officials to conduct an examination of UOC’s Charter to see if there are any ecclesiastical and canonical ties with the Moscow Patriarchate. By the same decree, Zelensky put into effect the decision of the NSDC to impose sanctions on 10 representatives of the UOC.