UK sanctions Patriarch Kirill over support for Russian war in Ukraine

Patriarch Kirill has been sanctioned over his support for Russia's war in Ukraine. (Photo: UK government)

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church is among the latest round of individuals to be sanctioned by the UK government in connection with the war in Ukraine. 

Patriarch Kirill has been sanctioned "for his prominent support of Russian military aggression in Ukraine". 

Others to be sanctioned include Russian Children's Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for her alleged involvement in the forced transfer and adoption of Ukrainian children.

Lvova-Belova has been accused of enabling the violent removal of 2,000 vulnerable children from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and "orchestrating a new policy to facilitate their forced adoptions in Russia".

The UK government called the reports "barbaric". 

Four colonels from the 64th Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade have also been sanctioned over their role in the war. The UK government said the unit was "known to have killed, raped, and tortured civilians in Bucha".

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: "Today we are targeting the enablers and perpetrators of Putin's war who have brought untold suffering to Ukraine, including the forced transfer and adoption of children.

"We will not tire of defending freedom and democracy, and keeping up the pressure on Putin, until Ukraine succeeds.

"Putin's allies continue to choose to turn a blind eye to alleged war crimes and support his bloody offensive."