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SBU detains ex-clergyman for helping men avoid mobilization as fake 'missionaries'

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 12, 2023 8:11 PM 1 min read
The detention of the ex-clergyman accused of helping men avoid mobilization by forging documents, published by the Security Service of Ukraine on Sept. 12, 2023. (Photo: Security Service of Ukraine)
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A former clergyman was detained in Odesa Oblast for helping men leave the country by including them on a fake list of "missionaries" who needed to travel abroad, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported on Sept. 12.

He was formerly a clergyman for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, a church that has received intense scrutiny since the beginning of the full-scale invasion due to its affiliations with Russia.

The man demanded a minimum payment of $4,500 in exchange for forging documents that would allow the men to evade mobilization, the SBU said.

The price depended on how urgently someone needed to leave Ukraine and their financial situation.

Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60 are not able to leave the country unless they have special permission, they are still a student, or they have certain medical conditions. Under martial law, they must stay in Ukraine as they may be called up at any moment for military service.

The SBU believes that the ex-clergyman attempted to smuggle six men abroad through this scheme.

He is currently in custody. If convicted of the crime of illegally transporting people across the border, the man faces up to nine years in prison.

SBU detains military medical commission official for corruption
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has detained a military medical commission official, who is suspected of allowing over 50 people to evade the draft in exchange for bribes, the SBU said on Aug. 29.
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