Ex-deacon accused of disguising men as missionaries to avoid conscription in Ukraine


Investigators say at least six individuals escaped to EU countries after deacon allegedly took bribes

A former deacon in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa has been detained on allegations that he took bribes to help men evade conscription by disguising them as church missionaries so they could leave the country.

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said last week that the former deacon belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox church, one of two main branches of Orthodoxy in the country and until recently linked to the Moscow patriarchy. Investigators say the former deacon – who has not been named – successfully facilitated the escape of at least six individuals to several EU countries.

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