2019-02-20 10:09:00

Crimean leader denies forced eviction of OCU church in Simferopol

Simferopol, February 20, Interfax - Forced eviction from the premises in Simferopol leased to the Crimean Diocese of the new Ukrainian church (OCU) is ruled out, the Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov said.

"No one of oppressing anyone, all documentation is being brought in accordance (...) No forceful action is definitely being taken," Aksyonov told reporters.

The Saints Vladimir and Olga Catherdal is located at a building previously occupied by a former Simferopol higher military-political building school. It is a three-storey building with classical-style columns. The only sign of the religious tenant is a small cross above the entrance.

On February 12, the OCU Archbishop Kliment of Simferopol and Crimea said in Kiev that the Crimean authorities demanded that the premises of the Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral be vacated. He said that since 2014 the local authorities had been telling the diocese to re-register in accordance with the Russian laws but the diocese's administration has not done so.

"Because we are not re-registered, the fund for property and land relations is requiring us to sign all additional agreements and hand over the premises we occupy in the city of Simferopol to the ministry currently operating in Crimea (...) By early March, I should be left out in the street. I don't know where to take out our belongings, don't know where to remove them," Kliment said.

The Ukrainian Culture Ministry did not take stock of the valuables on the grounds of the cathedral, so they cannot be sent to Ukraine, "because the law bans me from moving cultural and national valuables across border," he said.

Earlier, Crimean Minister of Property and Land Relations Anna Anyukhina told Interfax that OCU representatives were refusing to provide documentation necessary for the lease in Simferopol. According to her data, Archbishop Kliment had not been seen in Crimea for a long time.