Patriarch Kirill, Head of the Russian Orthodox Church and one of President Putin's staunchest supporters, is visiting the UK from 15-18 October and it is widely reported that he will be received by the Queen.

AUGB has written to both the Foreign Secretary and the Archbishop of Canterbury to voice the Ukrainian community's concerns that this will be used as an opportunity for Russian propaganda, given that Patriarch Kirill fully supports Russian aggression in both Syria and Ukraine.

The full text of the letter to the Foreign Secretary is below.

Dear Mr Johnson

We understand that Patriarch Kirill, Head of the Russian Orthodox Church, is visiting the UK from 15-18 October, primarily to visit the Russian Orthodox community. However, there are widespread media reports that he will be received by both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen.

Patriarch Kirill is one of President Putin's staunchest friends and has consistently supported the illegal annexation of Crimea, the Russian-backed war in Eastern Ukraine and repression of human rights, particularly in relation to independent journalists, Crimean Tatars and the LGBT community. He has never spoken in favour of peace in either Syria or Ukraine and has never spoken out or even expressed any regret for the senseless killing of innocent civilians.

As an apologist for President Putin's aggression, Patriarch Kirill uses every opportunity to promote the Kremlin's world view. He comes, not as a man of peace and reconciliation, but as a preacher of hate - a representative of Russia's soft diplomatic policies to enhance the credibility of Russian propaganda against the West and against Ukraine. As such, he should not be allowed to meet the Queen in her capacity as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Any such meeting would be an insult to the thousands wo have died and the millions who have been displaced as a result of Russian conflicts and simply provide a propaganda victory for the repressive Russian regime.

We are copying this letter to Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State for Europe, and to Sir Gerald Howarth, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ukraine.

Yours sincerely

Petro Rewko Chairman

Fedir Kurlak CEO

Ukrayinska Dumka


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