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Russian Church sets up "Orthodox private military companies" to fight in Ukraine

Thursday, 19 October 2023, 13:50
Russian Church sets up Orthodox private military companies to fight in Ukraine
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

The Russian Orthodox Church is setting up its own private military companies in the Russian Federation. The Moscow Patriarchate has tasked these groups with recruiting Orthodox believers as mercenaries and providing them with combat training to fight against Ukraine.

Source: Security Service of Ukraine (SSU)

Details: The Security Service has documented that one such private military company, called St Andrew's Cross, operates out of the Kronstadt Naval Cathedral in St Petersburg.

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Its representatives are reported to be recruiting believers for service in the occupying forces within the walls of this religious institution.

In selecting potential candidates, preference is given to men who have already served in military units of the aggressor country and have combat experience. 

After enlisting in the ranks of the private military company, they undergo tactical military training and firearms training led by instructors from the Russian secret services.

To disguise the combat training, the organisers train their recruits exclusively within the cathedral's walls and at special training grounds.

Quote from the SSU: "It has been established that these private military companies are being financed by representatives of financial and industrial groups of the aggressor country that are close to the head of the Kremlin. The money goes to Russian Orthodox Church accounts in the form of charitable contributions and donations ‘to build churches."

On the basis of the documented facts, the SSU is undertaking comprehensive measures to establish all the circumstances of the crimes they have exposed and bring the culprits to justice.

Background: The Russian Orthodox Church supports Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow told believers last year that death in the war against Ukraine "cleanses away all sins".

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