Call for investigation into police obstruction of supporters of the Kyiv Patriarchate


Volodymyr Marushenko, National Deputy from the Christian Democrat Union has called on the Minister of Internal Affairs to carry out a thorough check into numerous violations by the police of the rights of believers from the Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate [UOC KP) during their attempted pilgrimage to Kyiv to celebrate the Baptism of Rus.

Mr Marushenko has sent an official Deputy appeal to the Minister, Anatoly Mohylyov over systematic actions by traffic police officers in detaining coaches carrying pilgrims when trying to enter or leave the capital.

He refers to reports in the media that on 28 July traffic police in coordinated manner obstructed groups of believers from the UOC KP as they tried to reach Kyiv from different regions of Ukraine. He cites obstructions suffered by pilgrims from the Lviv, Chernivtsi, Ternopil, Rivne, Vinnytsa, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Kharkiv and Odessa regions.

He points out the traffic police also caused problems for those returning after the festive events. As was reported in the media, a traffic police patrol stopped three coaches from a Sumy delegation of the Kyiv Patriarchate at one of the exits from Kyiv, searched it, removed documents and drove off.

Mr Marushenko expressed dissatisfaction with the explanation between by the Public Relations Department of the MIA in response to similar complaints from the Kyiv Patriarchate, and said that it had clearly been superficial and lacking in objectivity.

The Department had officially stated that the “complaints from representatives of certain denominations of a supposedly selective ban on pilgrims reaching the places where the Baptism of Kyivan Rus was being celebrated are not true and are of a prevocational nature.”

The National Deputy reminded the Minister that the Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and states that all faiths are equal before the law.

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