Russian Orthodox Church banned in Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi Oblast
The decision was made after the events of April 2, when priests beat a soldier in a church. (Photo:Khmelnytsky Regional Council)
In a unanimous vote, Khmelnytskyi Regional Council decided to ban Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in Khmelnytskyi Oblast, the council announced in a message on its website on April 4.
The vote followed an incident where a ROC priest was filmed assaulting a Ukrainian soldier on the premises of Khmelnytskyi Holy Intercession Cathedral, on April 2.
Councilmen also asked President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to designate the bill “On Ensuring the Strengthening of National Security in the Sphere of Freedom of Conscience and the Activities of Religious Organizations” as urgent, so that it can be considered by the national parliament on an expedited basis.
In addition, local authorities of Khmelnytskyi Oblast were recommended to conduct an audit ROC property in the region. The council also proposed to terminate ROC’s right to use local religious buildings and sites.
On April 2, a member of Khmelnytskyi Regional Council, Viktor Burlyk, announced that a Ukrainian soldier was beaten in a ROC temple in Khmelnytskyi.
He posted a video of a cleric pushing and kicking a man in military uniform, after which others joined him and pressed the soldier against the wall.
The clergyman, along with other men, led the military man out of the building with his hands folded behind his back. However, a fight broke out, with the uniformed man being pressed into the ground, saying he couldn't breathe. The soldier eventually left the building with a broken nose.
Following the incident, ROC stated that “a man wearing military uniform staged a provocation during a religious service.”
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