Anti-LGBTQ+ church leader, targets of ‘forced adoptions’ of new Russia sanctions

Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill leads the Easter service in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, Russia, April 24, 2022 (Source: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, swimming pool, file)

Britain announced a new round of sanctions against Russia on Thursday, targeting the head of the Russian Orthodox Church for his prominent support of the war in Ukraine as well as the Russian commissioner for children’s rights, who, according to Britain, is responsible for the forcible transfer and adoption of hundreds of Ukrainian children in Russia.

Foreign Minister Liz Truss said Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, had “repeatedly abused his position to justify war” against Ukraine. Kirill is a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Truss also targeted Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, who was accused of enabling the abduction of 2,000 vulnerable children from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine and facilitated their forced adoptions in Russia.

Others on Thursday’s list include four colonels from a brigade known to have killed, raped and tortured civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

Truss also said the British government was “taking all possible steps” regarding two British citizens who were sentenced to death for fighting Russian forces in Ukraine.

She said officials were in regular talks with the Ukrainian government over Aiden Aslin and Sean Pinner, who were convicted last week alongside a Moroccan, Brahim Saadoun, of allegedly fighting as mercenaries. by a court of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

“These people are prisoners of war. They were legitimately fighting with the Ukrainian army,” Truss said. “What Russia has done is a total violation of the Geneva Convention. We are taking all the measures we can.”

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