Armed Russian-Backed Rebels Are Raiding & Shutting Down Protestant Churches in Ukraine

Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine’s Luhansk region have been cracking down on Protestant Christianity by raiding churches, dispersing worshipers, and preventing re-registration.

Forum 18, a Norwegian human rights organization, revealed that the rebels have issued mandatory re-registration orders for religious organizations in the region, but have denied approval for many.

No Baptist or Seventh-day Adventist communities were reportedly able to re-register, with the latter having to halt all activities in order to prevent churches being seized.

There have been several instances of Protestant churches being raided in the past few months. Armed rebels raided a Baptist church in Brianka late in September, while the pastor of Krasny Luch Baptist church is facing possible punishment for allowing Sunday morning worship without registration.

Twelve police officers shut down the Sunday morning meeting at Revival Baptist Church, telling the 25 worshipers gathered to go home. Several of them were questioned, however, while Pastor Dmitry Sirbu was forced to watch as the church’s safe was drilled in.

Sirbu is facing legal threats for violating the Administrative Code for allowing the gathering.

In another instance in August, men armed with automatic weapons raided Grace Church of God Pentecostal Church in Alchevsk during a worship meeting, forcing Christians to lie face down on the floor, as they seized church computers.

In light of the crackdown, Andrei Litsoev, head of the Religious Organizations and Spirituality Department of the Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry in Luhansk, has refused to give a reason for why so many churches are being denied their registration.

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Source: Christian Post