KYIV 26 February 2016
The SMM facilitated dialogue between representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) in Ternopil (95km north-east of Ivano-Frankivsk) following recent incidents between parishioners (see SMM Daily Report 21 January 2016). Participants discussed how to peacefully resolve disputes related to contested church premises in the region and agreed to continue to take steps to reduce tensions between followers.
KYIV 21 January 2016
The SMM followed up on media reports about an alleged seizure of a church in Rivne region. A representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) told the SMM that on 17 January, members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) had not allowed UOC members entrance to the church in Krasnosillia (Hoshcha district, Rivne region, 211km north-east of Lviv). A representative of the Krasnosillia village council told the SMM that UOC-KP parishioners had changed the church’s lock claiming it had been damaged. The representative of the UOC-KP contacted by the SMM was reluctant to speak and could not provide local contacts details of the UOC-KP representatives. The SMM will follow up on this incident.
KYIV 12 January 2016
The SMM continued to follow up on tensions between two religious communities in Ptycha village (148km north-east of Lviv, Rivne region; latest: see SMM Daily Report 11 January 2016). The SMM revisited the village and spoke with police officers guarding the Dormition church and the head of the Ptycha village council. Additionally, in Dubno (165km north-east of Lviv, Rivne region), the Mission spoke to representatives of the Dubno district police and the director of the Dubno district hospital. The interlocutors said that on 9 January 30-40 Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) pilgrims had arrived in Ptycha. According to the interlocutors, at 11:00hrs on 9 January, the pilgrims and local UOC parishioners visited the Dormition church and had then held a procession around the village. Local parishioners from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) had followed them and verbal confrontations and a scuffle ensued. According to the Dubno police representative, the police had been called around 12:00hrs, after a UOC parishioner (woman, 35 years old) had been hit. According to the director of the Dubno hospital, the victim had been brought to the hospital promptly but was released on 11 January because no serious trauma had been diagnosed. The Dubno police representative told the SMM that it had opened an investigation into charges of ‘minor bodily injury’. Additionally, the SMM was told by the Dubno police representative that one police officer and one local man, both of whom had refused medical assistance, had been injured on 18 December (see SMM Daily Report 24 December 2015). In relation to that incident, the Rivne regional directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs had opened an investigation into charges of hooliganism and resistance to police officers.
KYIV 11 January 2016
The SMM followed up on tensions between two religious communities in Ptycha village (148km north-east of Lviv, Rivne region; latest see: SMM Daily Report 6 January 2016). On 10 January, a representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church told the SMM that on the previous day a bus with approximately 20 pilgrims of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church parked near the church building and started singing religious songs. He said that after that local parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate started shaking the bus which ended when police intervened. The interlocutor added that the pilgrims were later beaten up by parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate when they held a procession through the village. According to the interlocutor, a woman was submitted to Dubno district hospital. The SMM will follow up on this incident.
KYIV 6 January 2016
The SMM followed up on alleged tensions in relations between religious communities. In Ptycha village (148km north-east of Lviv, Rivne region) the SMM spoke to representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as well as the head of the village council, all of whom said that the situation in the village was currently stable. The interlocutors also stated that there were still no religious services at the church and that police officers were present at all times near the church (see SMM Daily Report 24 December 2015). The SMM also followed up on media reports of issues with land allocation for construction of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church monastery in Ridkivtsi village (14km north-east of Chernivtsi, in Novoselytsia district). The SMM spoke to four representatives of the village council (two men and two women) who said that it was only the local branch of the Svoboda party that had publicly stated it would oppose. The councillors said that the plans were not causing controversy in the village and emphasised that there were no tensions between the three Christian communities represented in the village (Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Greek Catholic Church and an evangelical church).
KYIV 24 December 2015
The SMM continued to follow up on tensions between parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the village of Ptycha (148km north-east of Lviv, Rivne region), where on 18 December over 250 people, including 20 young men in military-type fatigues bearing Right Sector insignia had gathered in a church yard; some 50 police officers had been also present. Despite media reports that violent clashes took place at the village church on 18 December, whilst at the scene that day the SMM did not observe significant incidents and an interlocutor from the local police did not confirm the occurrence of any serious clashes or injuries. The SMM has since learned that the situation has calmed down.