Ukrainian Security Service sees Moscow-connected church as a threat


Eastern Europe


Churches in Ukraine. Photo AFP, Anatolii Stepanov

There are possible threats to the national security from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate, Vasyl Maliuk, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), says.

Thirty-three suspects are considered a threat to the national security of Ukraine, Maliuk said in an interview with Interfax last Thursday. "If we take the period since the beginning of the war, we have opened 23 criminal proceedings against such characters."

Maliuk says it is clear that a church is an ideal field for enemy activities. Recently, a "clergyman" was detained in Vinnytsia region, the head of the Security Service tells in the interview. "He was in constant communication with the FSB (Russian Security Service, ed.)." According to Maliuk, evidence has been found for this, including messages.

At the same time, the head of the Security Service says that his agency can deal with the threats. "I would be wrong if I said this is a threat that the Service cannot influence and document in time."


Earlier, the Security Service of Ukraine announced that the transitions of parishes from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Kyiv Patriarchate) are also a threat to national security in Ukraine. That was reported by Sphz last week, based on a report by lb.ua. Some local Ukrainian authorities force the Moscow-connected churches to switch to the Kyiv Patriarchate. However, this creates destabilisation of the region, according to the SBU.

According to the security service, the transitions often result in physical clashes. In addition, the security service fears that Russia will use the incidents to accuse Ukraine of "harassment of the UOC, inciting interfaith hatred and using the protest potential to destabilise the socio-political situation in the state."



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