Advisor to Avakov threatens with punishing the Church for quarantine breach

Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Varchenko. Photo: mvs.gov.ua

Ivan Varchenko announced that "the law enforcement system will respond to cases of individual or collective ignorance of religious leaders."

Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Varchenko, advocating unprecedented restrictions on virtually all rights and freedoms for Ukrainians in the fight against the coronavirus, threatened religious organizations with administrative and criminal prosecution for non-compliance with quarantine rules.

“All religious organizations and their leaders are obligated and will comply with the laws of Ukraine!” he wrote on his Facebook page. “The law enforcement system will respond to cases of individual or collective ignorance of religious leaders that will endanger people's health or life.”

According to him, all the restrictions established in connection with the pandemic, "as well as the obligation to comply with the rules of quarantine and observation, are mandatory regardless of religious beliefs."

“Similarly, the penalties specified in Articles 325 and 137 of the Criminal Code and penalties under Articles 44, 173 and 188 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses do not contain exceptions for representatives of religious communities,” Varchenko added.

According to the Advisor to the Minister of the Interior, the phrase “All shall be as God wills” is an excuse for people with lacking responsibility.

“Today, religious leaders of exceptionally Orthodox trends, faced with a pandemic, are revising the rules of conduct for their believers. They considerably restrict mass events and direct contacts among their believers. We support such a socially responsible position. In turn, we advise: love and take care of yourself and your brothers and sisters in faith, first of all, by using the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine! Adhere to the laws of Ukraine and the established rules for this special period,” Varchenko concluded.

As reported by the UOJ, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine insists on the prohibition of mass religious rites during the quarantine period.

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