U.S. supports Ukraine in struggle for right to have independent church – envoy
United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback has said the United States would further support Ukraine in its struggle for the right to have the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
"Ambassador Brownback assured that the United States would further support Ukraine in its struggle for the restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity and the right to have the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church," the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's press service quoted Brownback's words as saying.
During a meeting in Kyiv on Tuesday, Poroshenko stressed that religious freedom was an integral part of the Ukrainian identity. "We are proud that we have a decent state of religious freedom in Ukraine guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations, as well as the traditionally high level of tolerance that prevails in Ukrainian society," he said.
Poroshenko outlined the measures taken to establish the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. He thanked the American party for an active support in this process.
The Ukrainian president also drew the ambassador's attention to numerous occasions of the horrific violation of human rights and freedoms, in particular religious freedom, in the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia. The two officials stressed the need for a rigorous response to the systematic persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, representatives of other religions in occupied Donbas and Crimea.