Ukraine’s SBU seizes pro-Russian books, cash, Soviet passports amid raid on Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

24 November, 05:15 PM
Ukrainian law enforcers find pro-Russian books, cash, foreigners with Soviet passports in Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Photo:SBU)

Ukrainian law enforcers find pro-Russian books, cash, foreigners with Soviet passports in Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Photo:SBU)

Ukraine’s SBU security service found pro-Russian books, large amounts of cash in various currencies and Russian citizens amid raids on Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and on other premises of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP).

The agency said in a post on Telegram on Nov. 23 that in addition to the Lavra, SBU agents searched the Koretsky Holy Trinity Monastery and the premises of the UOC’s Sarny-Polissia eparchy in Rivne Oblast.

The SBU said that jointly with National Police and National Guardsmen, they thoroughly searched 350 church buildings and checked the identity of 850 people.

Video of day

Over 50 people were carefully vetted, including with the use of a polygraph. The SBU said those were not only citizens of Ukraine, but also foreigners, in particular, Russian citizens.

“During document checks, some of them either provided passports and military tickets of Soviet design, or only copies, or they had passports of citizens of Ukraine with signs of forgery or damage,” the SBU said.

“Now they are being thoroughly checked.”

In addition, a 32-year-old citizen of Ukraine who may be involved in illegal activities of the pro-Russian news agency Antvan was found on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

The person is a trustee of the owner of the eponymous Russian company ANTVAN GROUP, Russian citizen O. V. Orlov, who owned several land plots and public catering establishments in Ukraine. Currently, this property has been seized as part of criminal proceedings.

SBU
Фото: SBU

During the searches, the SBU agents also found the following:

  • pro-Russian literature used in seminary and parochial schools, including for propaganda of the so-called “Russian World;”

  • cash totalling more than UAH 2 million ($54,692), more than $100,000, and several thousand Russian rubles.

pro-Russian literature used in seminary and parochial schools, including for propaganda of the so-called “Russian World;”

cash totalling more than UAH 2 million ($54,692), more than $100,000, and several thousand Russian rubles.

Photos published by the SBU show leaflets with the sermons of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill, who actually supported Russia’s war against Ukraine and called for religious terrorism.

SBU
Фото: SBU
SBU
Фото: SBU

All materials will be submitted for the appropriate forensic investigations.

The SBU emphasized that all actions are carried out within the current legislation, complying with the principle of impartiality towards the activities of any religious denomination and everyone’s right to freedom of worldview and religion, as defined by the Constitution of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s SBU conducted a counter-intelligence operation at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery on Nov. 22 after controversial footage of a religious service glorifying the “Russian world” appeared on social media.

On Nov. 12, a video of people praying for Russia in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra was shared on the Internet, prompting Ukrainian law enforcers to open up criminal proceedings.

On Nov. 15, the head of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavlo, admitted that while praying in the church, those present were singing a song about Russia, but he claimed it wasn’t connected to the church’s liturgical services.

Another UOC representative, Archimandrite Polikarp, said the priest overseeing services that day was busy and did not hear what “this group of activists was singing.”

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