A draft law that would ban the Kremlin-backed branch of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine moved forward on Thursday.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed the first reading of a bill banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP), Yaroslav Zheleznyak, the People's Deputy of Ukraine reported via Telegram.

The draft law had support from 267 deputies. The largest number of those who voted for the initiative were from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party, Servant of the People – with 175 of them in support.

For the draft law to come into force, it must be voted for in its second reading and signed by Zelensky.

The UOC-MP has an ecclesiastical-canonical relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and, as such, is deemed to be a fifth column for Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.


On June 7, Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukraine’s culture and information minister, said that, were the law passed, within three days, the UOC-MP would have to stop using the property of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra National Reserve, housing the Monastery of the Caves, one of Ukraine’s most important spiritual and historical sites.

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