SIMFEROPOL / AQMESCIT (QHA) -

The number of religious communities in the Crimea following the annexation of the peninsula by Russia has decreased from 2,200 to 800 officially registered by the occupation authorities, according to the report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The report says that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) has not been registered, since it did not recognize the Russian annexation of the Crimea, and the Greek Catholic Church of the peninsula is also outlawed.

Since 2014, five churches of the UOC-KP have been closed or transferred to other communities.

Also the community of Jehovah's Witnesses was recognized illegal, since in June 2017 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation banned the activities of this group on the territory of Russia. Thus, the 22 local cells of the community, which congregation counts 8 thousand people, have also become outlawed.

Three members of the community of Jehovah's Witnesses were fined $ 85 due to participation in worship.

Also in February and April 2017 pastors of the Adventist and Evangelical community received fines of about $ 850 for "lack of signage" indicating their places of worship.

Reportedly, in the future the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate might go underground in the occupied Crimea.

Earlier, human rights activists also presented a report on the violation of religious rights in the Crimea.

Previously QHA reported that special services of the occupation authorities conducted searches in the Crimean mosques and searched for prohibited literature during the raids at the homes of the Crimean Tatars and other Muslims.

Source: www.uscirf.gov

QHA