State Dept: Support for OCU is concern for territorial integrity of Ukraine
The State Department spokesman said the United States upholds the right of religious groups to freely practice their faith without external interference.
On March 3, 2020, Samuel Brownback, United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, in an interview with the Orthodox Times, said that by supporting the OCU, the State Department does not interfere in the internal affairs of the Church but supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The journalist asked the representative of the State Department to comment on the fact that "US officials have openly expressed their views on the issue of Ukrainian autocephaly. At t the same time, however, they criticize the Russian government for intervening in the internal affairs of another country through pressure exerted by the Moscow Patriarchate."
Mr. Brownback replied to this question as follows: " The United States takes no position on internal Church affairs, and strongly supports the freedom of members of religious groups to govern themselves according to their beliefs and practice their faith freely without external interference."
At the same time, according to him, "The United States support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering in the face of Russian aggression."
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that in early August 2018, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Valery Chaly reported that the Department of State supported the creation of the so-called "single local church in Ukraine."
In September 2018, Sam Brownback, during a meeting with Petro Poroshenko, stated that the United States fully advocated for “autocephaly” in Ukraine.
According to the "hierarch" of the OCU Makariy Maletich, "Phanar issued the Tomos for OCU because it was sure of the support of the United States."
And in 2020, the OCU and the US Department of State agreed on bilateral cooperation; upon that US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo believes that it is very important for the United States to communicate with Epiphany Dumenko so that "Russia's influence in Ukraine would not be so strong."