Ukraine presses charges against Russian church leader Kirill
“The SBU and the Prosecutor General's Office have gathered evidence against the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Vladimir Gundyaev (aka Kirill), who promotes Russia’s armed aggression and denies war crimes committed by the invaders.
According to the inquiry, the Moscow patriarch is a part of the inner circle of Russia's top military and political leadership and was one of the first public figures to publicly support a full-scale war against Ukraine.
To spread propaganda, he massively exploits religious communities run by the Russian Orthodox Church under his control on the territory of the Russian Federation, as well as representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in Ukraine.
Gundyaev regularly spreads Kremlin narratives through online sermons or video addresses. In particular, it was documented that in March 2022, an article was published on the ROC website telling about a liturgy where the top cleric blessed the commander of the Russian Guard for the war against Ukraine.
Also, in late February 2023, a video was uploaded on the ROC YouTube channel, in which Gundyaev justified the occupation of eastern Ukraine. In addition, the patriarch repeatedly offered comments to propagandists from Russian national TV channels, voicing support for the Kremlin’s aggressive policies and calling on the faithful to unite for the war against Ukraine.
Based on the collected evidence, the SBU pressed charges against the ROC chief, accusing him of encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, justification and recognition as legitimate of Russia’s armed aggression and glorification of its participants, as well as complicity in planning, preparation, and waging of a war of aggression.
Comprehensive measures are underway to bring the perpetrator o justice for crimes against Ukraine.
It should be recalled that since the outset of Russia’s full-scale aggression, 70 criminal proceedings have been initiated against representatives of the UOC (MP), of which 16 serve as metropolitans.