Patrtriarch Kirill of Moscow has been removed from an EU-sanctions list of Kremlin-associates after a last-minute intervention by the government in Hungary. The intervention took place during a meeting of EU member-state ambassadors in Brussels on Thursday.
Hungary’s move surprised diplomats: ambassadors believed that consensus on the package’s provisions — the EU’s latest response to Russian aggression in Ukraine — had been reached at an extraordinary summit of EU heads of state on Monday. Diplomats assumed that the Thursday meeting was merely to formalising the agreement and make technical arrangements for the imposition of the new, wider sanctions.
For some hours, however, the whole list of sanctioned individuals was in doubt, as Hungary’s representative refused to accept the package unless Patriarch Kirill’s name was removed.
The sanctions package, the EU’s sixth in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, covered both personal measures against leading figures in the Russian regime (freezing their assets and banning them from travel in the EU), and corporate moves to severely restrict imports of Russian oil to the EU single market.
“Patriarch Kirill is a religious leader. Respecting fundamental principles of religious freedom, the government of Hungary considers it inappropriate for the EU to include his name among those who would be specifically sanctioned.”https://t.co/RdW2KgQvy8
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) June 3, 2022