The Russians continue to destroy Ukrainian identity in the occupied territories. The invaders issued an “order” banning the activities of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) on the captured territory of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the UGCC reported.
“The ban on the activities of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast is baselessly argued by the occupiers with the alleged storage of “explosives and firearms on the territory of religious buildings and auxiliary premises”, as well as the fact that the activities of the UGCC are carried out “in violation of the legislation on religious and public organizations of the Russian Federation”, namely because of the “participation of parishioners in mass riots and anti-Russian rallies in March-April 2022”, the UGCC writes.
The Russians also accuse the Ukrainian church of “distributing literature with calls to violate the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation” and “active participation of UGCC communities in Zaporizhzhia Oblast in the activities of extremist organizations and propaganda of neo-Nazi ideas.”
The Russians ordered to hand over the movable and immovable property and land plots of the Church to the occupation military-civilian administration of the Zaporizhia Oblast; that is, they actually robbed the church. Also, the occupiers are tearing up lease contracts for premises and land plots that the UGCC had previously concluded with local authorities in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. In addition, the invaders forbade registration of the UGCC religious community in the occupation authorities of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and persons who held management and administrative positions in the UGCC were prohibited from registering public and religious organizations in the occupied territory.
The occupiers also banned the Knights of Columbus and Caritas organizations, which are engaged in social service. The Russian “order” is dated December 26, 2022. However, the Department of Information of the UGCC became aware of him only now. The “document” was signed by the “head” of the occupying military-civilian administration of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, a collaborator, Yevhen Balytskyi.