US senators call on Trump to impose sanctions against Russia for religious persecution in the Donbas and Crimea

A group of the American senators has submitted a resolution placing responsibility on Russia for violating religious freedoms in the annexed Crimea and separate regions of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
This was reported by the Ukrainian Embassy in the US on Thursday, June 14.

"A bipartisan group of senators headed by the Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, Roger Wicker, have introduced a draft resolution on the situation in the field of religious freedom in the OSCE region," the Embassy’s statement said.

The co-authors of the resolution were Senators Shaheen, Lankford, Tillis and Boozman.  

The document notes that, given the fact Russia invaded the Ukrainian Crimea and occupied it by force, it is obliged, in accordance with the requirements of international law, including the Geneva Conventions, to protect the religious freedoms of the inhabitants of the occupied territory.

It also noted that during the entire duration of time since the Russian Federation annexed the Crimea, Russia has been responsible for violating religious freedoms on the peninsula. Specifically, the resolution notes that Russia is responsible for the abduction, detention and imprisonment of representatives of individual religious groups, including Muslims from among the Crimean Tatars, as well as practicing adherents of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and Christian Protestantism.

Separately, the draft resolution specified a similar responsibility of Russia for observing religious freedoms in certain territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

"The document calls on the US president to impose sanctions in the form of denial of an American visa and freezing of property against foreign persons who are directly or indirectly involved in serious violations of religious freedoms in the territories temporarily occupied by Russia," the Ukrainian Embassy noted.

Earlier this week, the US expanded its sanctions against Russia by adding three more Russian citizens and five companies to its list. The US authorities believe that these firms are connected with the FSB.

  Trump, Donbas, Crimea, USA, Russia