UK sanctions Patriarch Kirill. Russian church says measures are absurd

The 75-year-old religious leader, whom the European Union recently renounced from blacklisting, “is being sanctioned for his support of Putin’s war,” the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

These measures, which include a ban on entering British territory and an asset freeze in the UK, also target Maria Lvova-Belova, a mediator for children’s rights in the Kremlin, over the “forced adoption and transfer of Ukrainian children”.

Leaders in the transport sector and soldiers accused of “killing, raping and torturing civilians” in Bucha, near Kiev, are also targets of these measures.

“We are targeting Putin’s accomplices and perpetrators of war who are inflicting untold suffering on Ukraine, including the forced transfer and adoption of children,” Foreign Minister Liz Truss said in a statement.

The Russian church has already reacted to the announcement of the sanctions, calling them “absurd” and “meaningless”, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“Attempts to intimidate the Patriarch of the Russian Church or force him to abandon his views are absurd, pointless, hopeless,” Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vladimir Legoida said in a statement.

“The Church – especially now – is the last bridge, a means of communication that they are trying to destroy”, he added, denouncing “political forces that have made the escalation of conflict and the distancing of peace their main objective”.

According to the spokesperson, these sanctions aim to “break the already seriously impaired communication between the European community and Russia”.

Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox since 2009, put his Church at the service of Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling it a “miracle” and supporting the military offensive in Ukraine.

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The European Commission proposed sanctioning him, but the European Union withdrew due to Hungarian opposition.



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