Hungary again blocks EU sanctions against Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill
Hungary has blocked sanctions against Cyril for the second time in a row (Photo:Oleg Varov/Russian Patriarchal Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)
The government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has for the second time in a row blocked the inclusion of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Vladimir Gundyayev, aka Patriarch Kirill, into the EU sanctions list, Radio Liberty’s Europe editor, Rikard Jozwiak, said on Twitter on Sept. 28.
"There was a push by some EU member states to sanction Patriarch Kirill but Hungary blocked, just like last time," he wrote.
The Hungarian authorities believe that "no religious leader should be included in the sanctions list.”
Gundyayev has been Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church since 2009, and a member of the clergy of that organization since 1969. According to declassified KGB materials, he also served as an agent for the Soviet spy agency during the entirety of the Soviet period. He’s considered a close ally of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, also a former KGB agent. During a sermon on Sept. 25, he reportedly told Russian soldiers that "sacrifice in the course of carrying out your military duty washes away all sins,” and has been a strong supporter of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine.
The European Commission announced proposals for the eighth package of sanctions against Russia on Sept. 28. In particular, to expand the list of sanctioned persons, introduce restrictions on trade, and limits on oil prices’ upside.
Among the key points of the new package are: bans on imports of Russian products in the amount of 7 billion euros, additional bans on the provision of European services, and a ban on EU citizens joining the governing bodies of Russian state-owned companies. In addition, the new sanctions will underpin the oil price caps.
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