The SBU served a notice of suspicion to the dismissed Metropolitan of Kirovohrad Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of Moscow Patriarchate (MP), who justified the seizure of Crimea. This is Ioasaf, whose evidence of pro-Russian activities was found in October.
The bishop was a member of Moscow Patriarch Kirill's inner circle, and coordinated with him the spread of pro-Kremlin views in the region, the SBU press service reported.
According to investigators, the Metropolitan was in constant contact with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and carried out his instructions to justify Russian aggression and the seizure of part of the territory of Ukraine, in particular the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
"Instructions from Moscow came in the form of written circulars, as well as during personal meetings in Russia," the SBU added.
Law enforcers found out that in the churches of the community, the believers were handed out hostile propaganda literature, which was printed in thousands in Russian typographies.
In these books, Russian authors questioned Ukrainian statehood and praised the Kremlin regime.
During searches in the diocese, law enforcement officers found a large number of hostile printed materials and documents proving correspondence with Moscow "curators".
According to the conclusions of an independent examination initiated by the SBU, the Metropolitan's criminal activity threatens the state security of Ukraine.
Ioasaf was notified of being suspected under Part 1 of Art. 161 (violation of equality of citizens based on their race, nationality, region, religious beliefs, disability and other grounds) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
The pre-trial investigation to establish all the circumstances of the offense is underway.
According to LB.ua, the suspected metropolitan is very close to the bishop of the UOC-MP, Metropolitan Antoniy - Ivan Pakanych.
After the massive discovery of anti-Ukrainian propaganda materials at the facilities of the UOC-MP in different regions, the National Security and Defense Council initiated a ban on religious organisations affiliated with the Russian Federation.