Ukraine, two Catholic priests arrested by pro-Russians in Donetsk

The news was given by the pontifical foundation ‘Aid to the Church in Need’

Two Catholic priests were arrested in the Donetsk port city of Berdyansk. The news was given by the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (Acs), which expresses “deep consternation” for the arrest of the Redemptorist fathers, detained by the Russian militias, who provided pastoral care to Greek Catholic and Latin Rite Catholic parishes and are among the few remaining in the occupied territories. According to an official statement sent to ACS signed by Monsignor Stepan Meniok, bishop of the Exarchate of Donetsk, of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, the detention is “unfounded and illegal”.

Father Ivan Levitskyi, parish priest of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in the city of Berdyansk, and Father Bohdan Heleta, chaplain of the same church, were reportedly imprisoned in a pre-trial detention center in Berdyansk by the Russian administration on charges of having prepared a terrorist act. The statement sent to Acs denounces that the accusation of possession of weapons and explosives by the priests is false and adds that it was a maneuver organized for propaganda purposes.