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    Zakarpattia church blogger charged with inciting religious enmity

    The SBU security service is suspecting a church blogger, resident of Ukraine’s Zakarpattia region, of inciting religious enmity on social media.

    According to law enforcement, the culprit, 20, had been posting insulting messages across social networks, targeting believers with another denomination.

    For the crime allegedly committed, the man faces a fine of up to UAH 8,500 or up to three years in prison.

    The SBU press service says, the resident of the Khust district controlled an information platform where he published insulting content against believers with another church, in particular, supporters of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

    “He used the narratives of Russian propagandists in drafting his publications. Namely, he labeled the Orthodox Church of Ukraine a sectarian organization and insisted on its non-canonicality and illegality. The man called the OCU believers ‘Satanists, schismatics, and persecutors of the Orthodox faith, atheists and radicals,’” the report says.

    The press service of the Zakarpattia police adds that law enforcement operatives spotted the man’s activity on social networks after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. “The individual created fake accounts, with the help of which he further spread provocative calls to incite inter-religious enmity and humiliated citizens in various ways because of their religious views, which did not coincide with his beliefs and those of his spiritual mentors,” the operatives reported, clarifying that the man in question is a supporter of the UOC (Moscow Patriarchate).

    The prosecutor’s office added that the suspect systematically circulated narratives similar to those that Russian propaganda has been actively spreading for a long time. The examination confirmed that the publications contained motives for inciting religious enmity.

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