17 October 2012, 16:39
Yanukovich demands severe punishment for FEMEN activists who cut down cross in Kyiv
Kyiv, October 17, Interfax - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich sharply criticized the actions taken by FEMEN activists who recently cut down an Orthodox cross in central Kyiv, and demanded a tough reaction to such actions from law enforcement agencies.
During a meeting with the heads of churches and religious organizations on Wednesday, the president said he guarantees all religious organizations unbiased treatment by the authorities.
"Society trusts the church. However, we can't say that we can be calm about the moral state of society now. I refer to various incidents, which sometimes draw broad public response. For example, when a cross was cut down in central Kyiv, which hurt the religious feelings of millions of people," Yanukovich said.
Yanukovich said he believes this is an alarming and dangerous signal, which should be followed by an appropriate reaction.
"I demand that law enforcement agencies respond harshly to this barbarity," Yanukovich said.
According to earlier reports, FEMEN activists cut down a cross in central Kyiv near the International Culture and Arts center (October Palace) on August 17 to express "support and respect" for the members of the punk group Pussy Riot, who were sentenced by the Moscow Khamovnichesky Court to two years in a penal colony.
The Kyiv police opened a criminal case based on the article of the Criminal Code dealing with hooliganism, but no one was detained.
On August 18, activists representing various opposition forces and public organizations put a temporary cross in the place of the cross cut down by FEMEN.
On September 5, it became known that Inna Shevchenko, the mastermind of the project to cut down the cross, had left Ukraine for France.
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