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Pressure escalates for Ukrainian Church

06 June 2014

REUTERS

On the edge: a Ukrainian border-post near the eastern city of Luhansk seen through bullet holes in a truck's windscreen, on Tuesday

On the edge: a Ukrainian border-post near the eastern city of Luhansk seen through bullet holes in a truck's windscreen, on Tuesday

THE independent Kiev Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church announced on Tuesday that the Bishop of Luhansk and Starobilsk, Afanasiy, had gone into hiding after threats from armed separatists. A number of churches had been closed in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions because of the "sharp deterioration" in the security situation, the Patriarchate said. 

Pro-Russian separatists are in continuing armed conflict with Ukrainian military forces over control of the eastern regions (News, 16 May).

"Today, I am in a very difficult position", Bishop Afanasiy said. "Almost all pro-Ukrainian patriots have fled from Luhansk. Those who didn't risk being beaten to a pulp. Those who could escape have fled; but others are in hiding everywhere. I do not know how much more I can cope, but I will not leave the area."

 

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