January 24, 2024, 15:34

Terror against the clergy: what violations Russia commits against religious leaders in the temporarily occupied areas 

Since the full-blown war outbreak, the terror against the clergy, believers, and religious centers has sparked in the Russian-controlled territories. Thus, according to the information on Russian crimes documented by the “Tribunal for Putin” initiative, 50 crimes against leaders of religious communities have been reported. These are murder, kidnapping, and torture, in particular. 

Yevgeniy Zakharov, Director at the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group made this report during a briefing at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform 

“In both cases, priests were deliberately murdered, and other five deaths came as a result of bombing with various types of weapons, such strikes also led to eight victims being injured. 20 priests were abducted, and their whereabouts remain unknown. Five priests were kidnapped and subsequently released, and all of them, after moving to government-controlled territory or after de-occupation, reported that they were subjected to severe torture. One priest, now with an unknown fate, was deported and expelled from his hometown,” the human rights activist said.

He also spoke about records of occupiers driving priests and parishioners out of the church and using the building for their own needs. In addition, there are cases when the occupying forces devastated the church and adjacent buildings, deployed their artillery near the church, etc.

According to Yevgeniy Zakharov, among the abducted religious leaders are mostly priests of the UOC, as well as leaders of various Protestant churches and priests of Greek Catholic churches.

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