5 Dec 2018 21:28

Orthodox priests from Rivne, Sarny questioned in treason, religious hatred inquiry - Ukrainian Security Service

KYIV. Dec 5 (Interfax) - The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) branch in Rivne Region on Wednesday questioned 12 priests from the Rivne and Sarny (Rivne region) dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) as witnesses.

"Today, 12 priests were invited to be questioned as witnesses as part of a criminal inquiry opened by the SBU's Rivne branch," its press secretary Inna Iliuchok told Interfax on Wednesday.

For its part, the Rivne diocese said on its website that its priests were summoned by the SBU to be questioned as witnesses in a criminal case over "high treason" and "infringement on the equality of citizens depending on their race, nationality, religion, disability, and other signs" as per the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

"More than ten priests were summonsed, so the questioning took quite a while," the statement said.

Bishop Pimen of the Rivne diocese said: "Our priests did and will serve to God and to the people of Ukraine. And the accusations being thrown at us and our church are false and offensive. All of us, the bishops and priests of the Rivne region, are Ukrainians and patriots of our country, and we neither were nor are doing anything that could divide or harm Ukraine."