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    “I don’t know the attackers, but all their relatives are with the OCU”: Zadubrivka victim delivers confusing testimony

    Propagandists from the First Cossack outlet, trying to convince audiences their report is truthful, uploaded a video comment by Vasyl Khashchiyuk, the recently assaulted resident of Zadubrivka village who identifies himself as an adept of the ROC in Ukraine.

    The video leaves an impression that the person was reciting a text someone prepared for him.

    Following a question on whether the victim succeeded in identifying his attackers, confusion ensued: “I only recognized Vadym, of course, but no one else. See, it was dark there. No light anywhere around. I didn’t have time to identify anyone else.”

    At the same time, the victim claimed all assailants were with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine: “Of course, they’re affiliated [with the OCU]. All their relatives are with the OCU,” said Khashchiyuk.

    The victim’s story once again confirms that the brawl had nothing to do with religious affiliations, while Russian and pro-Russian propaganda claims the opposite. The group of local youths reportedly got offended after the victim turned down their offer to share a drink together, which led to the assault. There was no talk during an altercation about religious issues – the OCU or the ROCinU affiliations.

    “I was returning from a night shift. I got there, to the store, what once used to be a store. Vadym Skrypnyk asks me: ‘Why don’t you say hi?’ I said hi. He goes, ‘Let’s do a shot.’ I go, ‘I’ve got to go to work early tomorrow.’ And then I went on my way. A couple of minutes later, I hear the stomping behind my back. And that’s it. They pushed me onto the ground and started beating me.”

    Earlier, the police explained that a member of the ROCinU was beaten over a domestic conflict, and that religious issues were not involved. “The man said that a verbal altercation erupted between him and local intoxicated residents over the age of 18 due to a misunderstanding, and as a result he was injured,” the Chernivtsi National Police Department said.

    As we reported earlier, the fake news about the beating of a ROCinU member in Zadubrivka is turning into a major hoax. The initial misinformation about the “assault on an ROCinU believer allegedly committed by OCU supporters is being circulated by Russian intelligence.

    The ROCinU has created and is now spreading an outright fake story in order to instigate protests among affiliated Orthodox believers ahead the mass rallies scheduled for March 23. They initially sought to find some victim to make their high-profile case, and they found one in the village of Zadubrivka.

    Now there is another reason for ordinary believers of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine to implement the “Montenegrin scenario” in the country and attend anti-government rallies. Only in Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Odesa and Rivne did the ROCinU cancel the scheduled rallies over pressure from local authorities due to quarantine restrictions. Mass demonstrations are still set to be held in other major cities against renaming of the “Moscow Patriarchate” and collaboration bills, as well as the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Ukraine.

    Earlier, a Ukrainian expert, Oleksandr Kovalenko, reported that the ROCinU, which is now cultivating a narrative about “persecution” of own believers, would soon start raising tensions among its most resolute parishioners though the staged acts of provocation. And the first test effort has apparently already been made.” The expert noted that it was Mr Voznesensky, a notorious Russia supporter who intervened in the conflict, “blew Russia’s cover.”

    On January 27, 2019, the majority of Zadubrivka believers, which is 158 parishioners, voted for the transition to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. There were the police and the state registrar, who witnessed the vote. It was only the registered locals who voted. Meanwhile, the belligerent minority who chose to remain with the Moscow Patriarchate employ non-local thugs to inflame conflicts.

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