Estonian president: Religious freedom cannot justify war crimes

President Alar Karis and Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets.
President Alar Karis and Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets. Photo: Presidendi kantselei

President Alar Karis said at a meeting with Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets on Monday that Estonia will not close churches or disband congregations, but religious freedom cannot justify war crimes.

«In Estonia, everyone must have the opportunity to go to church and be active in their congregation. Our country will not close church buildings or disband congregations,» the president said.

The same was confirmed by Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets.

«Freedom of religion cannot justify war crimes. What is happening in Ukraine is a crime against the Ukrainian state and its people. It is abandoning the principles of goodness and mercy, choosing evil and violence. A church leader who is loyal to the Kremlin, who justifies and even incites the war started by the Kremlin, and who supports Russia's aggression against a neighboring country, also casts a shadow over the Estonian Orthodox. That shadow is unfair to our compatriots,» the head of state said.

The president added that such injustice can be overcome by finding solutions that will give the members of the congregations here freedom of religion, thought and conscience important to Estonia, which are free of the mindset supporting the war imposed on them from afar.

«Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets promised that the Estonian state will be a good partner to the Orthodox congregations in finding these solutions,» Karis said.