Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Officials start case against Ukrainian Orthodox Church after searches of church buildings

Ukrainian Orthodox Church buildings

The Ukrainian Security Service has started a criminal case after searches of Ukrainian Orthodox Church buildings across the country, the agency said on Wednesday.

According to the security service, known as the SBU, its agents conducted searches at church sites in the Volynskaya, Zhitomir, Zakarpatskaya, Lvov, Nikolayev, Rovno, Sumy, Kherson and Chernovtsy regions. The agency says it found Russian passports, St. George ribbons and symbols of the banned party called the Opposition Platform - For Life.

"A criminal case has been started based on this fact," the SBU said on Telegram. The case is for a crime provided for by Ukrainian Penal Code Article 161 Part 1, or the violation of people’s equality depending on their race, nationality, religious beliefs, disability and other signs.

Ukrainian law enforcement officers have recently conducted a series of searches in Ukrainian Orthodox Church buildings. The SBU said it found "pro-Russian literature and millions in cash."

On December 1, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on the activities of religious organizations in Ukraine that’s essentially aimed at banning the UOC. By the same decree, he put into effect the decision of the NSDC on sanctions against 10 representatives of the UOC. On December 11, Zelensky put into effect a new decision of the NSDC on sanctions against seven more representatives of the UOC, including Metropolitan Antony.

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