According to the head of the Odesa eparchy, Bishop Afanasiy, the Russian forces have seized a Ukrainian rescue ship, Sapphire, which was set to retrieve the bodies of our soldiers, who had been considered killed in action, from Zmiiniy Island.
For this purpose, the priest of Odesa eparchy Vasyl Vyrozub was also on board the vessel.
It is noted that the humanitarian mission was taking place by prior agreement with the Russian side.
However, as a result, it turned out that no soldiers were killed on the island, while the Russian military used the situation as an excuse to insidiously lure an unarmed rescue vessel and capture it along with the civilian crew and the OCU priest.
On February 27, at 6:00 p.m., the head of the Odesa eparchy received a message from Archpriest Vasyl Vyrozub that the ship, crew, and representatives of the mission were being taken in an unknown direction.
“I appeal to the world community, religious leaders, and all missions to make the incident public and help resolve this outrageous situation,” Bishop Afanasiy said in his address.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine condemns this cynical incident and demands that Archpriest Vasyl Vyrozub, all crew members, and members of the humanitarian mission be immediately released.