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MPs to consider ban on UOC-MP at next session, sources say

The necessary number of votes to pass the bill is reportedly available.

MPs to consider ban on UOC-MP at next session, sources say
Photo: UOC-MP assembly in Feofaniya, 2022

Parliament has included in the agenda of its next meeting the draft law "On amendments to certain laws of Ukraine on the activities of religious organisations", which bans the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) in Ukraine, has learned from its own sources.

According to the publication's interlocutors, there is enough votes to pass the bill. At present, more than 226 (the minimum required) MPs have signed an appeal to speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk to put the ban on the Moscow church to a vote. These include Stefanchuk himself and first deputy speaker Oleksandr Korniyenko. The leader of the Servant of the People faction, Davyd Arakhamiya, and his deputy, Andriy Motovylovets, did not sign the document in order "not to put pressure on their colleagues", but they are expected to vote in favour.

The position of Dmytro Razumkov is still unclear, although some MPs from his Smart Politics parliamentary group have cast their votes. The situation is the same in Fatherland - part of the faction supported the initiative, while Yuliya Tymoshenko has not yet expressed her position.

"The work continues. We have 226 votes for sure. It is expected that there will be at least 240. The signatures were collected physically, there are MPs who are currently not in Kyiv and could not sign the document personally, but expressed their readiness to support the bill," the sources said.

On 1 December 2022, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defence Council to ban the activities of religious organisations affiliated with centres of influence in Russia in Ukraine. The Cabinet of Ministers submitted the relevant draft law to the Verkhovna Rada on 19 January 2023, and it was expected that MPs would submit it for consideration in May. However, on 23 September, speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk said that there were no votes to ban the UOC-MP and that there was an "internal discussion".

What exactly was the "internal discussion" and which MPs are against it - read Sonya Koshkina's article "Is the ban on the UOC-MP postponed? "Servants are against it".

In August, MPs began collecting signatures under an appeal to speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk demanding that he submit bills that would help ban the activities of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.

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