Oppression of religious communities continues in occupied Crimea - Kuleba
Oppression of religious communities by the Russian Federation continues in the temporarily occupied Crimea, says Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
"The oppression of religious communities in the occupied Crimea continues. Yesterday the Foreign Ministry issued an official statement on this matter, but I want to clearly emphasize that the actions of the occupying state on the temporarily occupied peninsula against religious groups are absolutely unacceptable, a gross violation of human rights and reflect the policy of systemic persecution of religious communities, in particular the Ukrainian Orthodox community in the temporarily occupied Crimea," Kuleba said at a briefing in Kyiv on Thursday.
The minister condemned the actions of the Crimean occupation authorities to evict the community of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) from their cathedral in Simferopol and to continue the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses.
"We condemn the eviction of the community of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine from the Cathedral of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princes Volodymyr and Olha in Simferopol. We categorically do not accept the spread of Russian legislation to the Ukrainian Crimea, which outlawed about 8 thousand believers of the Church of Jehovah's Witnesses. Let me remind you that two members of this community were imprisoned by the occupation authorities for their religious beliefs, which is a gross violation of humanitarian law," the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
According to Kuleba, not only Orthodox Church of Ukraine believers and Jehovah's Witnesses, but also Jews and Muslims are subjected to harassment in Crimea: "Also, administrative fines were imposed on the rabbi of the Messianic Jewish community, on the imam of Alushta Muslim community. We certainly record the pressure on Crimean Tatars, on members of the Muslim community who suffer from fabricated cases against them."