Press Release: Ukraine’s Ruling Party Displays Shocking Political Opportunism by Pursuing Church Ban on Day of Tragedy


Save the UOC Editor

The following press release was issued to media today:

WASHINGTON DC, January 26, 2024 – On January 25, just one day after a Russian plane was shot down carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, members of Ukraine’s Verkhona Rada said that they intend to move forward to pass a controversial bill aimed at banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The timing of the announcement, says Robert Amsterdam, represents “a shocking display of political opportunism on a day of national tragedy.”

Amsterdam, whose law firm Amsterdam & Partners LLP acts on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), has recently published a white paper arguing that Draft Bill 8371 would empower the government to ban the Church and legitimize a series of recent violations of human rights and freedom of religion inflicted upon members of the Church.

“I can think of no act more disgusting or reprehensible than to seek to deflect attention away from negligence following such a tragic loss of lives,” said Amsterdam. “From the beginning we have argued time and again that Draft Law 8371 has nothing to do with Ukraine’s security and is instead entirely a desperate political ploy to drum up extremist support – and now the Rada has just proven that point more clearly than I ever could.”

Amsterdam continued: “This is a moment to honor the lives of the POWs lost, investigate the tragedy, and strengthen Ukrainian unity. It is not the time to take away places of worship from the faithful and continue with these ugly politics of division. We intend to hold the sponsors of this repressive legislation to account internationally, and remind the authorities that even in war time, human rights of all Ukrainians must be respected.”

The report titled, “Freedom of Religion under Attack in Ukraine: A White Paper on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” is available for download on More information about Amsterdam & Partners LLP is available at

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