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Orthodox priests being taken hostage in Ukraine for future exchange – politician

The chairman of the movement "We are together with Russia" drew attention to the fact that due to the arrests of Orthodox priests, the rights of parishioners are also violated

MELITOPOL, December 1. /TASS/. Ukrainian forces take Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) priests hostage in order to exchange them for Ukrainian prisoners-of-war, says Vladimir Rogov, chairman of the "We are Together with Russia" movement.

"This is a common practice [of Ukrainian forces] to take people hostage, including Orthodox priests," he said. "It is being done to refill the exchange fund. Right now they hold my countryman Mr. Boguslayev [Vyacheslav Boguslayev, ex-CEO of Motor Sich - TASS], who is almost 84 years old. Money is being seized from him; by official accounts alone, 1 billion hryvnas (over $27 million - TASS) were taken from him. He is planned for exchange later."

Rogov noted that the Lvov Region Council called on the Verkhovna Rada recently to ban the UOC in violation of all laws and the Constitution of Ukraine.

"We keep hearing [in Ukraine] accusations against the Orthodox priests that they keep calling for peace, to find mutual understanding. So they are basically the enemy number one for the [Zelensky] regime in these circumstances. Because these people speak truth, they do not succumb to hysteria, dehumanization and escalation of hatred. We understand that this regime exists only thanks to fear, hatred, blood and suffering. And the people who speak from the position of love and brotherly understanding are dangerous for it," he noted.

Ukrainian authorities also hold hostage teachers, doctors and everyone who worked on rebuilding a peaceful life in Kharkov and Kherson Regions.