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Russia purges non-Kremlin-aligned churches from occupied territories

by The Kyiv Independent news desk December 27, 2022 4:25 AM 1 min read
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Russians have started to forcibly integrate religious centers in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine into Kremlin-controlled churches and mosques, the Ukrainian military's National Resistance Center reported on Dec. 26.

According to the center, the Russian-state-funded organization "Russian Association for the Protection of Religious Freedom" is operating in occupied territories to rid them of non-Russian-state-aligned churches.

The organization has been auditing the properties of Protestant and Orthodox Church of Ukraine churches, as well as mosques that are not under the control of the Russian-state spiritual administration of Islam.

After Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, it implemented similar policies against the local Muslim Tatar population.

Religion has played a key role in spreading Russian-state propaganda and ideology. The Russia-backed Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has recently been accused by Ukraine's security services of collaborating with Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council has proposed banning Russian-affiliated religious groups, including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

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