The Czech Republic has added the first person to its national sanctions list. According to Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, sanctions have been imposed on Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill (Vladimir Gundyaev) for supporting military aggression against Ukraine.
Now the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is banned from entering the Czech Republic. Sanctions also mean the freezing of any assets and a ban on financial transactions in the country. According to Lipavsky, Patriarch Kirill uses his position as head of the church to justify Russian aggression in sermons and other public speeches.
The national sanctions list appeared in the Czech Republic after the local “Magnitsky law”, named after a Russian lawyer who died in a pre-trial detention center in 2009, came into force in January. This law allows the Czech government to impose sanctions against individuals and legal entities at the national level.
Patriarch Kirill is already included in the sanctions lists of Great Britain, Canada and Australia. He is also banned from entering Lithuania. The European Commission proposed to introduce restrictions against the head of the Russian Orthodox Church at the EU level, but this was not done: the decision was blocked by Hungary.
Earlier in April, Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia spoke out in support of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He accused the Ukrainian authorities of unjust oppression of the UOC and condemned the expulsion of monks from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.