Ukrainian church leaders on Russian death list

25-03-2022

Eastern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Damage and destruction in Irpin, Ukraine. Photo EPA, Roman Pilipey

Several church leaders in Ukraine received a severe warning: they are on Russia's death list.

The Ukrainian security service notified the Church Council of Ukraine that several church leaders, along with political leaders and others, are on the death list of the Russian invaders. Anatoliy Raychyets from the Ukrainian Bible society tells the Stefanus Alliansen that the Russians "are hunting" down pastors and priests. The Ukrainian Bible Society is in charge of the Church Council of Ukraine.

Shortly before the war, the United States already mentioned the death list. They said that they had "credible information" that the Russian forces were compiling lists of Ukrainians that had to be killed or sent to camps after the Russian occupation of Ukraine. The Washington Post and Foreign Policy reported this among others. According to them, the United States had sent a letter with this information to the United Nations. The Kremlin, however, denied the existence of such a list.

The churches in Ukraine take the warning very seriously. According to Anatoliy Raychnyets, several church leaders have already left Kyiv. "It is crazy what is going on. We do not call the attackers military forces. They are terrorists. Their rockets also hit apartment blocks."

Putin calls Protestants traitors in his speech

Recently, the Ukrainian bishop of the Word of Life congregation in Melitopol was abducted in Church. Also, several mayors have disappeared.

Ukrainian churches collectively call for prayer for the end of the war. Also, the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has strongly appealed for peace and security of Ukraine's sovereignty, even though the Church is part of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Stefanus Alliansen writes that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is now pursuing "internal enemies." According to the organisation, he recently called Protestants "scum, traitors, and insects that the Russian people will spit out of their mouths."

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