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Ukraine sanctions 22 associated with Russian Orthodox Church

Ukraine has imposed sanctions against 22 Russians who are associated with the Russian Orthodox church for what President Volodymyr Zilenskiy called their support of genocide in the guise of religion.

A decree by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine states that Mikhail Gundayev is on the list. He represents the Russian Orthodox Church at the World Council of Churches and other international organisations in Geneva.

Russian state media reported Gundayev as a nephew to Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Christian Church. Last year, Kirill was sanctioned by Ukraine.

These sanctions are part of a series of actions Ukraine took against the Russian Orthodox Church. They have backed President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, now in its 12th month.


Zelenskiy stated in his late Monday night (23 January) address that “Sanctions were imposed against 22 Russian citizens, who, under the cover of spirituality support terror and genocidal policies.”

He stated that punitive measures would help to strengthen the country’s spiritual independence.

The majority of Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians. There has been intense competition between Orthodox Christians in Ukraine and the Moscow-based church and the independent church that was established after 1991’s fall from Soviet control.


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