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    Wherever Russia comes, religious freedom is coming to an end – appeal of religious leaders to UN

    Wherever Russia comes, they torture the “wrong kind” of Orthodox Christians, exterminate Catholics, imprison Muslims for their religious beliefs, which is unthinkable even for Soviet times, force Protestants to flee country from inevitable repression, and persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    This is stated in the address by the heads of churches and religious organizations to the participants of the UN Security Council meeting on January 17, 2023, the press office of the State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience reports.

    “We, the representatives of religious organizations of Ukraine, appeal to you on behalf of millions of our faithful who, under Russian missiles and shells, pray, work, and protect the most valuable gift of God – life on our land, people’s rights and dignity.

    The war brought colossal suffering to these people, and people’s freedom, their religious beliefs became almost the prime target of the Russian occupiers. Over the eleven months, they destroyed or ransacked more than 270 churches and sacred sites, killed and beheaded dozens of clergymen. Wherever Russia goes, religious freedom ends. Wherever there is Russia, they torture the ‘wrong kind’ of Orthodox Christians, exterminate Catholics, imprison Muslims for religious beliefs, which is unthinkable even for Soviet times, force Protestants to flee abroad from inevitable repression, and persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    That is why our faithful are fighting at the front, among other things, to ensure that Ukraine continues to be a country where not a single house of worship has been closed in the entire history of its independent existence, where everyone has the right to believe in what they considers worthy faith, where religious minorities feel as comfortable as the Churches that unite millions of believers. Where, after all, religiously persecuted people from many countries have always found refuge, and Ukraine’s achievements in the field of freedom of conscience are recognized all over the world.

    We embrace this opportunity to appeal to the international community to hear us out: the most that peoples can do for the sake of establishing freedom of conscience in Ukraine is to help Ukrainians repel the Russian invasion, which brings death, slavery, darkness, and religious oppression.”

    The appeal was signed by Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Supreme Archbishop of Kyiv-Galicia, Head of the All-Ukrainian Union of Evangelical Christian-Baptist Churches Valery Antonyuk, Ayder Rustemov, Mufti of the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Crimea, Mufti of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine “Umma” Murat Suleymanov, Ruling Bishop of the Kyiv-Zhytomyr Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine Vitaly Kryvytskyi, Stanislav Nosov, President of the Ukrainian Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and President of the Union of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine Yakov Dov Blaich

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