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    OCU calls on world community, religious leaders to help release priest Vasyl Vyrozub from Russian captivity

    The rector of the Holy Trinity Church in Odesa, Father Vasyl Vyrozub, was part of the Ukrainian mission to extract border guards from Zmiiny Island. Along with the crew of the civilian rescue ship “Sapphire,” he was captured by the Russian invaders. Since then, the chaplain of the OCU has been in Russian captivity under torture.

    This is stated on OCU‘s Facebook page.

    Three days into the start of the full-scale Russian invasion on February 27, it became known that the rector of the Holy Trinity Church in Odesa, Father Vasyl Vyrozub, was part of the Ukrainian border rescue mission on Zmiiny Island when he and the crew of the Sapphire civilian rescue vessel were captured. Since then, the priest and chaplain of the OCU has been in Russian captivity, suffering from moral and physical torture.

    This was reported by witnesses – crew members, chaplains of Protestant religious organizations, and other Ukrainians who were released through exchange. As for Father Vasyl, it is only known that he has been transported to different locations several times, from Crimea to Russian Federation, and is now being held in a detention center in Russia’s Rostov region.

    “It is clear that it is useless to appeal to the conscience and mercy of the Russian invaders, so we appeal to representatives of the international community, religious leaders, and all missions to help release Archpriest Vasyl Vyrozub from Russian captivity!” the statement reads.

    It should be added that, together with Father Vasily Vyrozub, another priest, Oleksandr Chokov, was taken prisoner. He is a military chaplain with a Marines Brigade.

    According to him, Archpriest Vasyl Vyrozub is being held in appalling conditions. The occupiers accuse the OCU priest of espionage.

    “Priests Oleksandr Chokov, Leonid Bolgarov, and Doctor Ivan Tarasenko were released from Russian captivity, but the priest of the OCU, Vasyl Vyrozub, is still being held in the pre-trial detention center No. 2 in Stary Oskol, Belhorod district, Russia. He was imprisoned, tortured, accused of espionage, and more. It’s a shame to beat up a priest and captured soldiers,” Oleksandr Chokov said.

    The military chaplain said that in addition to Father Vasyl Vyrozub, there are about 150 other Ukrainian soldiers being held in the said pre-trial detention center, who are also being tortured by enemies. He reminded that such actions are prohibited by the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, and called on international organizations to appeal to the Russian authorities to release the prisoners.

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