SBU detains Moscow church priest in Sumy Oblast for spying on Ukrainian army
SBU detains Moscow church priest (Photo:ssu.gov.ua)
Another Russian agent — an archpriest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) — has been exposed through counter-sabotage operations in Sumy Oblast, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced on March 3.
The archpriest of the Russian-controlled church collected information about the deployment of Defense Forces in the region at the behest of the enemy, the agency said.
"First of all, he tried to identify the locations of command posts and warehouses with artillery weapons of the Armed Forces," the SBU said.
“To do this, he travelled around the border area and covertly took photos and videos of Ukrainian facilities.”
The agency said that Russian forces used the intelligence to conduct targeted missile and massive artillery strikes on the region, as well as to carry out sabotage attacks.
The Russian agent also collected the personal data of local government officials and law enforcement officers.
"SBU officers detained the offender as he attempted to transfer classified information about officials of local military administrations to the aggressor," said the SBU.
The archpriest was recruited by a member of the FSB department in Bryansk Oblast in September 2022.
He came to the attention of the Russian secret service because of his pro-Kremlin views, which he often shared with others.
He used anonymous messengers to communicate with the invaders, and transmitted the information he collected through text messages and geo-referenced media files.
After searching the suspect’s residence and church, law enforcement found cell phones with evidence of correspondence with the FSB and pro-Russian literature.
Currently, SBU investigators have served the suspect with a notice of suspicion under Part 2 of Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (high treason committed under martial law).
The issue of choosing a pre-trial restriction in the form of detention has yet to be decided.
The operation was conducted by the SBU office in Sumy Oblast under the supervision of the Regional Prosecutor's Office.
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