The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said on Thursday it conducted raids at three monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Zhytomyr region, as crackdown on churches allegedly loyal to Russia continues.
“Security measures are carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine together with the National Police and the National Guard with the direct participation of church representatives,” a statement read.
It added that the searches were conducted with the goal to "identify persons who may be involved in illegal activities and objects prohibited for circulation on the territory of our state.”
The SBU also raided 13 churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Cherkasy, Volyn, and Kherson regions on Wednesday.
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 after the SBU raided the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, among other monasteries, on Nov. 22. 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 used by the Kremlin to sway public opinion in Ukraine.
Source: Anadolu Agency