KIEV, December 14. /TASS/. Members of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) are conducting searches at 19 facilities of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) in nine regions on Wednesday, the agency’s press service reported.
"The staffers of the Security Service of Ukraine are taking counterintelligence measures at UOC (MP) facilities in the Transcarpathian, Chernovtsy, Rovno, Volyn, Nikolayev, Sumy, Lvov, Zhitomir and Kherson regions," a statement on the agency’s Telegram channel said.
The agency’s members are searching premises and buildings "in order to detect those individuals involved in illegitimate activities harming Ukraine’s state sovereignty and forbidden objects." Such measures are now being taken on the territory of seven monasteries, cathedrals in the cities of Uzhgorod, Romny and Korosten as well as a number of churches.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Ukrainian Klymenko Time news outlet reported that the SBU was raiding the UOC’s St. George’s Cathedral in Lvov and published a photo of security service members in camouflage and body armor with service dogs as well as staffers with SBU badges near the cathedral.
Recently, Ukrainian law enforcement conducted a number of searches at the UOC’s institutions. The SBU claimed that "pro-Russian literature and millions in cash" were found. On December 1, Ukraine’s president, Vladimir Zelensky, issued a decree to enact a resolution of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) on activities of religious organizations in Ukraine, essentially aimed at banning the UOC. The same decree enacted the NSDC’s decision on sanctions against ten UOC representatives. On December 11, Zelensky enacted the NSDC’s new decision on sanctions against seven more UOC members including Metropolitan Antony.