President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree on Dec. 11 against seven representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, an affiliate of the Russian Orthodox Church, putting into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council.
“We are doing everything so that the aggressor state does not have a single thread to pull Ukrainian society,” Zelensky said in an address.
On Dec. 2, Zelensky signed a decree to approve a proposal by the National Security and Defense Council to ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
On Dec. 1, the National Security and Defense Council instructed the Cabinet to draft a bill on such a ban. The bill is expected to be considered by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.
Zelensky also sanctioned Vadym Novynsky, an ex-lawmaker from the pro-Russian Opposition Bloc and sponsor of the Moscow-backed church; Pavlo Lebid, head of the Russian-affiliated church's Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and an ex-lawmaker from the pro-Russian Party of Regions, and Rotyslav Shvets, a bishop who "annexed" his Crimean diocese of the Russian-backed Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the Russian Orthodox Church in June.
Sanctions were also imposed on several other Moscow Patriarchate bishops in Ukraine's Crimea and a bishop who annexed his diocese in Russian-occupied parts of Luhansk Oblast to the Russian Orthodox Church in October.