Khmelnytskyi Сity Сouncil demands UOC communities vacate land plots
The mayor of Khmelnytskyi threatened to prosecute believers who refuse to leave their churches voluntarily.
The Khmelnytskyi City Council, which earlier deprived UOC parishes of the right to use land plots under churches, has demanded that the church communities vacate the plots. Khmelnytskyi mayor Oleksandr Simchyshyn said this in an interview with ukrinform.ua.
"In April this year, we terminated the right of permanent use on 13 land plots," the mayor said. “Four have already been transferred to religious communities, which have carried out the process of changing confession. The rest of the plots are now, in fact, public land plots. Just last week, we wrote letters to the MP structures which are still there, demanding that they vacate the plots because they are using them illegally.”
To believers who refuse to obey, Simchyshyn threatened criminal prosecution: "If they do not voluntarily vacate them (the plots - Ed.), we will write a criminal complaint to law enforcement agencies that unknown persons are using the public land plots."
The mayor also said how the city authorities disposed of the land, which was taken away from the UOC in 2022.
"Last year we started this process, for three plots of land we terminated the right of permanent use. There were no legal actions on their part concerning the two plots. One of the plots became a public garden, another one was given to an educational institution in the neighbourhood where it is extremely important to build a new kindergarten. And they filed a lawsuit about it. They grossly violated the use of this plot, built an unauthorised building, removed the fertile soil without any approvals, and this is damaging the environment. We won in the first instance, the court found our decision completely legal and our arguments well-reasoned. Now there is an appeal, which I hope we will win," Simchyshyn said.
As reported, the Khmelnytskyi Regional State administration re-registered the UOC parish of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the regional centre into the OCU on the basis of falsified documents.