The head of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has become the first person on the Czech sanctions list drawn up over the war in Ukraine. Kirill was included on this list by the Czech government because of his support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said today.

In the Czech sanctions list, which is posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 76-year-old Kirill is listed under the real name of Vladimir Mikhailovich Gudiaev.

His inclusion means he is barred from entering the Czech Republic, a member state of the European Union and NATO, and barred from having any commercial dealings with Czechs.

“His frequent public comments supporting the war in Ukraine, justifying the atrocities committed by Russian troops there, are all clear evidence that can be found in public,” Lipavsky stressed in a televised press conference.

The EU tried last year to include Kirill on the European sanctions list, but member states failed to reach a consensus on the matter, as Hungary objected to the inclusion of the Russian Patriarch’s name.

Kirill, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, has strongly supported the war in Ukraine, which has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Yesterday he even called Russians who stopped serving the country “internal enemies” and patriotism one of the “greatest virtues”, the Russian state news agency Ria reported.