Patriarch Kirill banned from entering Lithuania


Eastern Europe


Russian Defence minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. Photo AFP, Igor Palkin

The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, has been banned from entering Lithuania because he supports Russia, which continues its invasion of Ukraine.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) confirmed this on Wednesday.

On June 23th, the head of the Russian church was already added to the list of unwanted persons. The decision was made after a proposal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Patriarch of Moscow will not be able to visit Lithuania until June 23, 2027.

According to the MIA, Patriarch Kirill is included in the list because he deliberately denies the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and justifies and supports the aggressive actions of Russia, which grossly violate the norms and principles of international law. "Patriarch Kirill, a close associate of Vladimir Putin, is one of the most active supporters of the war against Ukraine, who has repeatedly publicly spoken positively about ongoing Russian aggression," the ministry said in a statement.

"Patriarch Kirill in the Russian propaganda media openly calls the people of Ukraine "participants of the Nazi regime" who should be deported or destroyed. On February 27, 2022, Patriarch Kirill blessed Russian soldiers participating in the war against Ukraine and provided a canonical justification for the war waged by Russia," it reads.

In the spring, Lithuania proposed imposing sanctions on Kirill at the level of the European Union (EU). Still, in June, during the approval of the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, he was removed from the list at the initiative of Hungary.



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