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Over 60 clerics of UOC (MP) exposed by SBU for kidnapping, arms selling during war

Nineteen representatives of the UOC (MP) with Russian passports were deprived of Ukrainian citizenship.

Over 60 clerics of UOC (MP) exposed by SBU for kidnapping, arms selling during war
Photo: Depositphoto

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is systematically combating subversive activities of Russian special services and criminals in the religious environment of Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale aggression, 68 criminal proceedings have been initiated against representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), including 14 metropolitans of the church, based on SBU materials.

Among the crimes revealed are 20 facts of high treason, collaboration and aiding the aggressor country.

In addition, law enforcement officers are investigating 18 proceedings on public agitation for religious hatred, as well as the sale of firearms and the distribution of child pornography.

As a result of operational and investigative actions, 26 individuals representing the UOC (MP) were notified of suspicion, and another 19 offenders have already been handed court sentences. As a result, two convicted collaborator clerics were exchanged for Ukrainian soldiers held captive by Russians.

Among them is the rector of the Holy Tikhvin Church of the Severodonetsk Diocese of the UOC (MP), who in April 2022 "handed over" members of the resistance movement in the community to the Russian occupiers. Following a "tip-off" from a cassocked collaborator, the invaders abducted the victims and imprisoned them in Russian torture chambers. Thanks to the SBU evidence base, the court sentenced him to 12 years in prison. Later, he was exchanged for 63 Ukrainian defenders along with Russian military prisoners.

SBU officers also detained a cleric of the Horlivka diocese of the UOC (MP), who, after the capture of Lyman, organised a meeting of community members to "elect" the leadership of the local occupying administration. According to the SBU, he was sentenced to seven years in prison, and then exchanged for Ukrainian defenders who were captured by the Russians.

In addition, the head of the Tulchyn Diocese of the UOC (MP) in Vinnytsya Region was sentenced to five years in prison. He campaigned for Russian armed aggression among his parishioners and justified the temporary occupation of part of Ukraine's territory.

At the same time, the SBU initiated the termination of Ukrainian citizenship of 19 representatives of the UOC (MP) who hold Russian passports and spread pro-Kremlin narratives about the war in Ukraine. Among them are metropolitans from Kyiv, Dnipro and Odesa regions, as well as from occupied Crimea.

Also, based on SBU materials, more than 177 clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church, including the former Metropolitan of Romny and Buryn of the UOC (MP) in Sumy Region, were banned from entering Ukraine.

Based on the exposed facts, comprehensive measures are being taken to identify all persons involved in subversive activities in the religious environment of Ukraine during the war.

"The Security Service once again emphasises that in its activities it acts exclusively within the framework of the Constitution of Ukraine and current legislation, and respects the rights of every citizen to freedom of choice of religion and worldview. However, no enemy accomplice and criminal element will be able to hide from justice for crimes against Ukraine behind a cassock," the statement said.

As reported, the Security Service, together with the National Police, detained the rector of one of the churches of the UOC (MP) in Kherson Region. He was clandestinely selling weapons and ammunition left over after the Russians fled the Ukrainian counter-offensive.

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