Following attack on UOC church in Mikhalcha, police open 3 criminal cases

Svyatoslav Kishlar, Head of the Department of Preventive Activities of the General Directorate for the National Police in the Chernivtsi Region. Photo: a video screenshot from the YouTube-channel “Chernivtsi Region Police”.

The police ensure the protection of the Holy Dormition Church and the adjacent territory, said Head of the Department of Preventive Activities in the Chernivtsi region.

After the storming of the UOC church in the village of Mikhalcha, Chernivtsi region, investigators from the Storozhynets police department initiated three criminal proceedings. Besides, the police remain on the territory of the church to ensure law and order and the safety of believers, reports the press service of the Chernivtsi region police.

“Police officers found out that on the morning of December 12, unknown persons tried to seize the premises of the church in the village of Mikhalcha and partially damaged the church property. During the incident, one of the parties to the conflict applied a tear and irritant action to the other. In the process of de-escalation of the situation, when law enforcement officers separated and delimited the participants in the incident, the gate of the church was partially damaged,” the message says.

At the scene of the incident, police seized wooden sticks, tear gas cans, electrical equipment used to dismantle the temple doors, and fireworks. In addition, a metal brass knuckle was seized from one of the participants in the raider attack.

On the fact of the events, investigators of the Storozhinets Police Department entered information into the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations on the grounds of Part 2 of Article 161 (Violation of the equality of citizens depending on their racial, nationality, religious beliefs, disability and other grounds), Article 15 (Attempted criminal offense ) and Part 2 of Article 206-2 (Illegal seizure of property of an enterprise, institution, organization) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

The police opened another criminal proceeding under Part 2 of Article 263 (Illegal handling of weapons, ammunition or explosives) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

“Also, the police received several complaints from citizens about possible illegal actions of law enforcement officers who ensure law and order on the territory of the church. Following these appeals, the police are conducting a thorough check. The police officers took the religious building and the surrounding area under round-the-clock protection and continue to ensure public safety and order near the temple,” the National Police official added.

Also, the National Police published a comment by the head of the Department of Preventive Activities of the GDNP in the Chernivtsi region Sviatoslav Kishlar.

It should be noted that in Mikhalcha not everyone is satisfied with the work of Sviatoslav Kishlar. According to the local residents, the police under his control were clearly on the side of the OCU during the storming of the Holy Dormition Church, and the situation towards compliance with the law changed only with the arrival of the special forces.

“Sviatoslav Kishlar is the son of the head of the OCU church in the village of Horishnye Sherivtsi of the Zastavna district, Chernivtsi region. He always talks about his tolerance, but, nevertheless, he always plays along with the OCU. So, in Mikhalche, he could have acted more harshly, according to the law, but he did not do that. The appearance of the special forces was a big blow for him, which he did not expect,” Mikhalcha residents said in a comment to the UOJ.

As reported, on the morning of Saturday, December 12, 2020, raiders from the OCU made another attack on the Holy Dormition Church of the UOC in Mikhalcha. Before the arrival of the police, OCU activists, most of whom were specially brought to Mikhalcha to seize the church, tried to enter the temple through the forechurch but failed to get inside.

Mikhalcha Orthodox believers said that the raiders who came to the temple with brass knuckles, bats, tear gas and smoke bombs, broke the video cameras installed on the temple grounds, and damaged the alarm and warning system. In addition, during the storming of the temple, supporters of the OCU attacked the rector. The OCU representatives, however, said that in Mikhalcha people with bats and brass knuckles "came to pray".

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