Occupation authorities ban activities of UGCC in captured territory of Zaporizhia region
The occupation authorities issued the so-called instruction to ban activities of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC) and social service organizations in the captured part of Zaporizhia region, the Information Department of the UGCC has said.
"The 'instruction' of the so-called head of the occupation military and civilian administration of Zaporizhia region, collaborator Yevhen Balytsky was published on his official website. The Information Department of the UGCC has learned about this only recently although the document is dated December 26, 2022," it said on Thursday.
The occupiers explained the groundless ban by the fact that the UGCC allegedly carried out its activities "in violation of the legislation on religious and non-governmental organizations of the Russian Federation" and also by the fact of alleged storage of "explosives and firearms in the territory of places of worship and auxiliary premises."
The Russian occupation authorities also ordered to transfer all movable and immovable property and land plots of the UGCC to the occupation regional military administration of Zaporizhia region, terminate rental contracts on premises and land plots concluded between the UGCC and the local authorities, refuse to register the religious community of the UGCC at the occupation authorities, ban persons who held top management and administrative positions at the UGCC from registering non-governmental and religious organizations in the occupied territory of the region.
The occupiers also banned activities of the following social service and humanitarian aid organizations in the occupied and de-occupied territories: Order of the Knights of Columbus and Caritas Charitable Foundation, including Caritas Canada, Caritas USA, Caritas Polska, Caritas Czech Republic, Caritas Donetsk, Caritas Melitopol.
"The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church calls on international organization to do everything they can to ensure respect for religious freedom in the occupied territories of Ukraine," it said.