Press Release: Lawyers for Ukrainian Orthodox Church Warn of Impending Crackdown Following Peace Conference

The following press release was distributed to media today.

Lawyers for Ukrainian Orthodox Church Warn of Impending Crackdown Following Peace Conference

“Zelensky is ‘pursuing peace’ while jailing priests,” says UOC lawyer Robert Amsterdam

LONDON, JUNE 14, 2024 – The international legal team representing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has announced that it has received intelligence that an impending round of arrests and persecutions are being planned against top Church leadership and their Ukrainian counsel upon conclusion of the Summit on Peace in Ukraine being hosted in Bürgenstock, Switzerland this weekend.

“We are informed by credible sources that when the peace summit concludes, the gloves will come off – we are very concerned for the human rights of this community,” said Robert Amsterdam, international lawyer for the UOC. “Pursuing peace while jailing priests – this has become the other, untold story in Zelenskyy’s Ukraine.”

The planned crackdown relates to the state’s unlawful arrests and prosecutions of four journalists, who are the Union of Orthodox Journalists (UOJ) in March 2024. According to intelligence sources consulted by Amsterdam & Partners LLP, the prosecution’s cases against the four journalists face a near complete lack of evidence to support the charges, which call for life imprisonment. With the flimsy pretext of the case failing in court and increased international scrutiny, the state is looking to expand the case with another 20 defendants. Sources indicate that a sweeping series of unlawful raids and arrests are being planned next week against a variety of targets.

“We strongly denounce the Ukrainian government’s conduct of persecution and violations of human rights and religious freedoms of Orthodox Christians, which are completely unfounded and politically motivated,” said Robert Amsterdam. “Yes, the war effort is critical and our clients strongly support Ukraine against Russian aggression. But we must not allow the war to serve as a shield of impunity for the current administration in Kyiv to repeatedly violate the rule of law and ignore international legal commitments.”

Amsterdam continued: “We are particularly concerned by reports that the Ukrainian government is planning to arrest the lawyer Nikita Chekman on trumped charges. In no democratic ally of the West should this sort of brazen, Putin-style tactics be tolerated. We are urgently warning the international community of these concerns and we intend to exercise every available international legal avenue to hold specific individuals in the Ukrainian government accountable for their violations of law.”

Amsterdam & Partners LLP is an international law firm with offices in London and Washington DC. More information is available at and