UKRAINE WILL RESPOND WITH SANCTIONS ON RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION BY THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN CRIMEA AND DONBAS
Ukraine will impose sanctions on those who persecute people in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and Crimea on religious grounds. Ihor Yaremenko, Deputy Minister for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of Ukraine stated the aforementioned during the expert discussion "Religious issues: religious freedom and occupied territories", which took place in the framework of the project "Audit of the legislative field on the occupied territories of ORDLO and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in 2014-2020".
According to Ihor Yaremenko, the Russian Federation uses the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) as a tool to oppress Ukrainian citizens. "Religion is a weapon for Russia and part of its security policy. Those who fit into the system and support the ROC have a chance to survive. Anyone who has a different opinion and does not support the actions of the occupation forces are destroyed. This was the case with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose last church was closed on the Crimean Peninsula, and representatives of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jehovah's Witnesses and others are persecuted in the temporarily occupied territories," said the Deputy Minister for Reintegration of TOT of Ukraine.
He noted that Russia uses religion as a weapon in its hybrid war against Ukraine along with armed aggression and information warfare, so the Ukrainian side will seek to strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation on religious persecution in the international arena. "The strengthening of sanctions is a response to Russia's religious aggression in Crimea and Donbas. They should be applied to those who are behind religious persecution," stated Ihor Yaremenko.
Photo credit: Institute for Religious Freedom