Russian forces target Ukrainian church leaders


Eastern Europe


The interior of heavily damaged church of Saint Alexander Nevsky in the village of Tsupivka, Kharkiv region. Photo AFP, Sergey Bobok

Release International sounds the alarm that Russian forces target church leaders in Ukraine, especially in occupied parts of the country.

The organisation which supports persecuted Christians worldwide has heard signals that church buildings are confiscated and that Russian soldiers treat Christians more harshly than others at military checkpoints. That is reported by Christian Today.

According to Release International, the Russians suspect church leaders of being agents for the West. One of the stories the organisation heard was about a Baptist worship meeting in Beryansk in Zaporizhzhia. Russian forces broke into the church, checked the identity of worshippers, searched the building and then closed it.


A pastor from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) was also taken from his home and imprisoned by the Russian soldiers, Slovoproslovo writes. This church has more loyalty to the West than to Moscow. The pastor was suspected of spying for the American forces. During his imprisonment, the church leader was tortured. “After that second interrogation, I thought I was dying”, he reportedly said. After two weeks, the pastor was released. Currently, he is leading a congregation again.



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