The EU has imposed sanctions against more than 1,000 individuals in connection with the Ukraine war, consisting of asset freezes and travel restrictions. Sanctions against the 58 new figures would require EU member states’ approval.
A spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church dismissed reports last month that Patriarch Kirill could face sanctions.
Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, said: “The imposition of sanctions on religious leaders is nonsense, the rejection of common sense.”
In an interview published on May 3, Pope Francis said he had expressed concern about Patriarch Kirill’s stance on the war in a video conference call on March 16.
The pope said: “I spoke with Kirill for 40 minutes on Zoom. For the first 20 minutes, he read from a piece of paper he was holding in his hand all the reasons that justify the Russian invasion.”
“I listened to him and then replied: I don’t understand any of this. Brother, we are not state clerics, we shouldn’t speak the language of politics, but rather the language of Jesus. We are shepherds of the same holy flock of God.”