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Cleric of Russian-linked church, former criminal, gets sentenced thanks to Security Service evidence

Monday, 3 July 2023, 16:41
Cleric of Russian-linked church, former criminal, gets sentenced thanks to Security Service evidence
Photo provided by a source of Ukrainska Pravda

A novice of the Pochaiv Lavra of Ukraine (UOC-MP, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate), who justified Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, has been sentenced to five years of imprisonment.

Source: press service of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU); Ternopil Oblast Prosecutor’s Office; an Ukrainska Pravda source in law enforcement

Quote from the Prosecutor’s Office: "A novice of the Pochaiv Lavra, previously accused of murder, who resided on the monastery's premises since 2017, shared posts in support of occupying the territories of our country and the glorification of the Russian soldiers, for whose victory he asked to pray, using Russian social media platforms VKontakte and Odnoklassniki.


The video materials he shared contained public calls for supporting the occupying administration of the aggressor state."

Details: The investigation team has established that Alexander Smirnov spent 15 years in a correctional facility for a gang murder.

The SSU remarks that after 24 February 2022, he has actively shared the narratives of Russian propaganda via his accounts on the Odnoklassniki and VKontakte social media platforms that are banned in Ukraine.

During the search in his monastic cell, the mobile phones he had been using for sharing the banned content were seized.

The examination, initiated by the SSU, has confirmed the facts of his sabotage activity in favour of the aggressor state.

Based on collected evidence, the court found the defendant guilty of violating two articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, such as:

Article 436-2.3 (justification, deeming lawful, denying armed aggression of Russia against Ukraine, and the glorification of its participants);

Article 111-1.1 (collaborationist activity).

Smirnov has been convicted to five years of imprisonment with confiscation of property and deprivation of the right to hold posts in Ukraine's law enforcement agencies, state governmental bodies, local authorities and in bodies that provide public services for the term of 15 years.

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