Ukraine: Zelensky sanctions businessman and nine priests with ties to Russian Church


President Volodymyr Zelesny sanctioned one of Ukraine’s richest businessmen and nine high priests linked to the Russian Orthodox Church, freezing their assets for five years.

The decision was one of the latest in a series of moves by Kiev against the Russian Orthodox Church, which has expressed its support for Russian President Vladimir Putin almost since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A decree posted on the Ukrainian president’s website late Tuesday said the sanctions were imposed on Vadim Novinsky, whose pre-war fortune was estimated at between $1.3 billion and $3.5 billion, according to the Ukrainian edition of Forbes magazine. . Nowinski, who is now believed to be in Germany, has business interests in the energy and steel sectors.

He also holds the ecclesiastical title of deacon and has funded the pro-Moscow branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for many years, according to Ukrainian media.

The list of sanctions also includes Pavel Lebed, the vicar of the Laura monastery in Kiev-Petserk, and other senior clergy from regional branches of the church in the east and south – where the important fronts of the war are located – as well as in Crimea, which was occupied and annexed from Russia in 2014. Novinsky and the priests could not immediately be reached for comment. Zelensky and his team have taken tough measures against many representatives of the pro-Moscow section of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, accusing them of supporting ‘genocide’ under the guise of religion.

Earlier this week similar sanctions were imposed on 22 Russians associated with the Russian Orthodox Church. The majority of Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians, and rivalry is fierce between the part of the church historically linked to Moscow and an independent church declared after independence from Soviet rule in 1991.

Source: RES – BEE

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