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Media: Kyiv puts head of Russian church on “wanted” list for abetting war in Ukraine

Patriarch Kirill Putin
Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian Orthodox Church has often been accused of serving the interests of the State. Photo: NovayaGazeta.ru

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has placed the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, who has been a long-time supporter of the Kremlin’s war against Kyiv, on a wanted list for abetting the conflict and spreading Moscow’s propaganda, according to Reuters.

In November, the Security Service issued a document saying Kirill “infringed Ukrainian sovereignty” by virtue of his position as “part of the closest entourage of Russia’s military and political leadership.”

In 2012, Patriarch Kirill addressed Putin personally as the savior of modern Russia and compared his reign to a “miracle of God,” as per the Atlantic Council.

In his sermons, he has repeatedly accused “foreign forces” of trying to divide Russia and Ukraine, which he said are “one people” in an attempt to blame the war on the West while denying Ukraine’s right to be an independent state.

Russification through the church

Patriarch Kirill has been accused of violating Article 110 of Ukraine’s criminal code and will face a lifetime sentence if detained.

According to Ukraine, Kirill has been using his influence on members of the Moscow-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to spread pro-Russian propaganda.

Moscow Patriarchate’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which claimed to have cut all ties with the Russian church in May, exists separately from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which received autocephaly in 2018.

Anti-Ukrainian leaflets, cash found in Security Service’s largest-yet raid on Moscow-affiliated church

While conducting searches in 350 church buildings and premises in 2022, the Security Service found numerous leaflets declaring Ukraine’s independence “a mistake” and promoting “unity” with Russia.

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