The 75 – year – old cleric was recently dropped from the European Union’s detention list and “allowed for his support of Putin’s war,” the British Foreign Office said in a statement.
The measures also include a ban on entry into British territory and a freeze on property in the UK, targeting Maria Lavova-Belova, a mediator for children’s rights in the Kremlin over the “forcible adoption and transfer of Ukrainian children”.
Leaders and soldiers in the transport sector, who have been accused of “killing, raping and torturing civilians” in Pucha, near Kiev, are also targets.
“We are targeting Putin’s allies and war criminals who are causing untold suffering in Ukraine, including forced relocation and adoption of children,” Foreign Minister Lis Truss said in a statement.
According to the agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), the Russian Church has already responded to the announcement of sanctions, calling them “absurd” and “meaningless”.
“Attempts by the Russian Church to intimidate the patriot or force him to abandon his views are absurd, meaningless and hopeless,” Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vladimir Legoida said in a statement.
“The Church – especially now – is the last bridge, a communication device they are trying to destroy,” he added, denouncing “political forces whose main purpose is to escalate conflict and disturb the peace.”
According to the spokesman, the sanctions are aimed at breaking the already severely strained relationship between the European community and Russia.
Grill, a patriotic Russian Orthodox leader since 2009, has placed his church in the service of Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling it a “miracle” and supporting a military offensive in Ukraine.
The European Commission proposed to allow him, but the EU withdrew due to Hungarian opposition.