Russia is purging Ukrainian Orthodox presence in Crimea


RISU, 5 August 2020


Attorney Sergei Zaets thinks that the liquidation of the Ukrainian Orthodox community in occupied Crimea borders on genocide. This is how he commented on the refusal by the Russian Supreme Court to retain the P.Ts.U. [Orthodox Church of Ukraine] cathedral in Simferopol.


On 4 August, the Russian Supreme Court refused to review the decision to evict the parish of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine from the cathedral church in occupied Simferopol. This was reported by lawyer Sergei Zaets in Facebook, Gordon reports.


"It is time to sound the alarm. . . . In essence this means the complete liquidation of the Ukrainian Orthodox community in Crimea. Formally it is not genocide, but it borders on it. Russia is destroying yet another Ukrainian religious-cultural group and is continuing to purge Crimea of everything Ukrainian," he wrote.


The lawyer said that at the same time as the eviction of the PTsU from the cathedral in Simferopol, the occupation authorities are trying to destroy a chapel in Evpatoria.


"A week before this, Archbishop Kliment [of the Crimean diocese of the PTsU] received the demand from court bailiffs to dismantle the chapel," Zaets explained.


Russia annexed Crimea and Sevastopol after an armed blockade of Ukrainian armed forces and an illegal referendum on 16 March 2014. The accession of the peninsula to the Russian Federation has not been recognized by Ukraine and by the majority of countries of the world.


In March 2019, the Ministry of Property and Land Relations of Crimea filed a lawsuit requesting the early termination of the rental agreement for the building where the only church of the PTsU in Simferopol is located, the cathedral of Vladimir and Olga. On 28 June, an arbitration court of the occupied peninsula granted the government's suit.


In July, Kliment reported that the property of the church "has been plundered and destroyed."


The diocese asked the appellate court to overturn the decision of the court of first instance.


On 29 August, the 21st arbitration appellate court in occupied Sevastopol, under Russia's control, left in force the decision for terminating the rental agreement for the premises of the PTsU cathedral church in Crimea.


In April 2020, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that the occupation authority in Crimea was continuing the systematic persecution of parishes of the PTsU on the territory of the peninsula. (tr. by PDS, posted 5 August 2020)

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July 27, 2020

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