Ukrainian security services (SBU) reported Friday that they have found religious manuals from Moscow, documents in Russian and «pro-Kremlin» literature in a diocese in southwestern Ukraine after ordering the search of several monasteries in different cities, including Kiev.
«As a result of the investigative actions, law enforcement officers discovered documents confirming the presence of Russian citizenship in the leadership of diocesan structures,» Ukrainian Intelligence has specified.
It has also pointed out that there is likely to be «correspondence» between the religious and Russian persons, as they have found «methodology» books in Russian explaining how to celebrate liturgies in the Church, as well as «wholesale lots» of «pro-Kremlin» literature.
«In addition, during an inspection of the computers of the diocese’s management, photocopies of identity documents of Rashists (members of the Russian Armed Forces) who took part in hostilities against Ukrainian troops were found,» he said.
The searches took place to counter alleged «subversive activities» in favor of Russia in facilities linked to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, including the Kiev Caves Monastery, declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The Orthodox Church has tried in recent months to distance itself from possible sympathies towards Moscow, thus dissociating itself from the military offensive launched in February, but the SBU launched an investigation after a service sang a song advocating the awakening of «mother Russia», according to DPA.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Kiev of religious persecution. In his opinion, the search of monasteries is «another link in the chain of military actions against Russian Orthodoxy», according to official news agencies.