World, Russia-Ukraine War

Security forces raid Ukrainian Orthodox Church monasteries in northeastern Ukraine

Ukrainian security service says it conducts raids with ‘direct participation of representatives of the church’

Burc Eruygur  | 21.12.2022 - Update : 21.12.2022
Security forces raid Ukrainian Orthodox Church monasteries in northeastern Ukraine FILE PHOTO


The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in the northeastern Sumy region on Wednesday said that it raided monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), as part of a crackdown on churches allegedly loyal to Russia.

“Employees of the Security Service of Ukraine conduct counter-intelligence (security) measures at the facilities of the UOC (MP) in Sumy Oblast. In particular, we are talking about the Sofronievo-Molchensky Men's Monastery of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary (UPC MP),” a statement from the SBU’s branch in the Sumy region read.

The statement further said that the raids were carried out with other law enforcement agencies in order to counter “subversive activities” in the country, noting that all actions are taking place “within the limits of current legislation.”

“With the direct participation of representatives of the church, law enforcement officers conduct an inspection of the territory and premises to identify persons who may be involved in illegal activities to the detriment of the state sovereignty of Ukraine, and objects prohibited from circulation,” the statement added.

On Nov. 23, the European Solidarity party in Ukraine, led by former President Petro Poroshenko, announced a draft bill to ban the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church in the country.

This came a day after the SBU raided the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, among other monasteries. Security forces claimed to have uncovered pro-Russian literature, cash, and forged documents from the buildings.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church split from Moscow in May over Russian Patriarch Kirill’s blessing for Moscow’s war on Ukraine. Still, there are suspicions that it is used by the Kremlin to sway public opinion in Ukraine.

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