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SBU suspects metropolitan of Kremlin-linked church of leaking information about Ukrainian forces

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 24, 2024 7:31 PM 2 min read
The Security Service of Ukraine, on April 24, 2024, served suspicion papers to Metropolitan Arsenii from the Moscow Patriarchate-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who allegedly passed Russian forces information about Ukrainian Armed Forces' positions. (The Security Service of Ukraine)
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Metropolitan Arsenii from the Moscow Patriarchate-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church is suspected of unveiling information about Ukrainian Armed Forces' checkpoints, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said on April 24.

The Moscow Patriarchate-linked church has been repeatedly accused of aligning with the Russian government during the war, which the church's leadership denied.

According to the investigation, Metropolitan Arsenii, who served in the Svyatohirsk Lavra in Donetsk Oblast, allegedly told parishioners the coordinates of Ukrainian military checkpoints in the Kramatorsk district in Donetsk Oblast during a liturgy.

The liturgy was recorded on video, which was later published on Lavra's website and the local Telegram channel.

The Security Service of Ukraine said that Metropolitan Arsenii, in such a "veiled" way, tried to pass to Russian troops the information on Ukrainian forces' places of deployment in the frontline area.

Metropolitan Arsenii spread pro-Kremlin narratives before Russia's full-scale invasion started in February 2022, according to Ukraine's Security Service. The cleric called the Russian invasion of Ukraine "a civil conflict" in his interviews.

Preventive measures are currently being considered for the suspect as the investigation is ongoing to establish the circumstances of the crime. He could face eight years of imprisonment, according to the SBU.

The Security Service of Ukraine previously carried out searches at the premises of Archpriest Mykola Danylevych, a senior member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Sources in law enforcement agencies told the Kyiv Independent that the archpriest had displayed support for the "Russian world" ideology and justified Russian aggression.

Opinion: What should Ukraine do about its Russia-linked church?
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), presented a “revolutionary” order on March 27: “The Present and Future of the Russian World.” The order claims: “From a spiritual and moral point of view, a special military operation (Russia’s term for its war against Ukrai…
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