In Ukraine

New Cold, July 26, 2016

Photo of July 2016 religious procession for peace in Ukraine (photo on Donbass ! blog)

Photo of July 2016 religious procession for peace in Ukraine (photo on Donbass ! blog)

A paramilitary force of the right-wing Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, headed by Nikolai Kokhanivskiy, has put up a picket on Zhytomyr highway near Kyiv to block the mass religious procession for peace which began several weeks ago from entering Kyiv. They are prepared to stop the “‘Moscow popy” (pejorative term for Orthodox Church priests). A report in Ukrinform is here.

“They must understand that Kyiv is Ukraine, so they have to turn around and march to Donetsk and Moscow, not Kyiv”, said Kokhanivsky.

The Holy Procession for Peace in Ukraine, July 2016

The Holy Procession for Peace in Ukraine, July 2016

When asked what his force will do with women and children marching in the procession, he answered that they will deal only with the “popy”.

The title of the news article in Ukrinform, the Ukrainian state news agency, calls the Orthodox Church procession a “Moscow procession” while OUN men in military uniforms are called “activists”. The procession has been harassed and threatened by right-wing nationalists along its two routes, which began in western Ukraine and in eastern Ukraine in early July.

Extremists threaten religious procession for peace outside of Kyiv on July 26, 2016 (Ukrinform)

Extremists threaten religious procession for peace outside of Kyiv on July 26, 2016 (Ukrinform)

The procession is ignoring the authorities’ ban from entering Kyiv and continues marching. Pilgrims are also refusing to board buses offered by authorities, reports Ukrinform.

A July 26 news report is published in French on the procession; it is here.


A prayer for peace in Ukraine, by Halyna Mokrushyna, New Cold, July 15, 2016.

Ukraine bars major religious procession from entering Kyiv after threat of attack

Deutsche Welle, July 26, 2016

The following news article from the German news agency Deutsche Welle gives prominence to the words and actions of Ukraine’s extreme right-wing and says nothing of the aims and goals of the pro-peace religious procession which is supposedly the subject of the report.

A religious march has been banned from Ukraine’s capital after authorities found live grenades near the planned route. Previously, Ukrainian nationalists harassed the Orthodox worshipers, calling them “agents of Moscow.”

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry ordered the police to stop the controversial procession from entering Kyiv on Tuesday. The decision was motivated by security concerns, said Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

“Mock mines and actual live grenades planted along the planned route give us no reason to doubt that the risk of threats and provocations is real,” Avakov said. “Security of the citizens is more important than religious rites.”

The religious event marks the adoption of Christianity in the early Slavic Kievan Rus state during the 10th century. Both Russia and Ukraine are dominantly Eastern Orthodox, but the Ukrainian believers are divided between rival denominations. The controversial march is organized by the Ukrainian branch of the Russian church, which is subordinate to the Moscow patriarch.

Several weeks ago, thousands of worshipers from the east and the west headed toward the planned meeting point in Kyiv on foot carrying icons and crosses. The move, allegedly [sic] aimed to promote peace, sparked harsh criticism from Ukrainian nationalists who believe it to be a Kremlin-backed provocation.

‘Real threat’

On Monday, right-wingers blocked some of the marchers from entering Kyiv, pelting them with eggs and calling them “agents of Moscow.” The protesters also carried a banner saying: “Moscow patriarchate = spiritual occupiers” (top photo). Other far-right organizations threatened to attack the event if the marchers entered Kyiv.

On Tuesday, authorities announced they found several suspicious objects in the Kyiv region, including explosive and smoke grenades.

Some of the material was discovered “3 to 5 meters (yards)” from the curb, presenting a ‘real threat’ to the participants, said Anton Gerashenko from the Interior Ministry.

“Demining experts are working at the scene, using a demining robot,” he added.

Ukrainian police were investigating the incident.

The Russian Interfax agency reported later on Tuesday that the worshipers were continuing their march towards the city despite the ban.



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