7 monasteries raided in western Ukraine by security forces

Security forces in western Ukraine raided seven monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), authorities in the country announced on Thursday as a crackdown continues on churches allegedly loyal to Russia.

"Employees of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) conducted counterintelligence (security) measures at seven facilities of the UOC (MP) in the Khmelnytskyi region," said a statement on Facebook by the regional SBU branch.

The statement noted that the raids took place to identify "prohibited items" on the churchs' premises, while authorities also carried out checks on people who "may be involved in illegal activities to the detriment of the state sovereignty of Ukraine."

Church representatives also participated as the raids were taking place alongside security officers, as far as the country's laws allowed, it added.

The statement also said that the SBU was working with the national police to "counter the subversive activities of the Russian special services" in the country.

On Nov. 23, the European Solidarity party in Ukraine, led by former President Petro Poroshenko, announced a draft bill to ban the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church in the country.

This came a day after the SBU raided the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, among other monasteries. Security forces claimed to have uncovered pro-Russian literature, cash, and forged documents from the buildings.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church split from Moscow in May over Russian Patriarch Kirill's blessing for Moscow's war on Ukraine. Still, there are suspicions that it is being used by the Kremlin to sway public opinion in Ukraine.

Source: Anadolu Agency