Rev. ANDRI CHUI, Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Donetsk oblast, occupied Ukraine)

Читать по-русски

Rev. Andri Chui

Rev. Andri Chui, a priest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the Russia-occupied Donetsk oblast (so-called Donetsk People’s Republic); lived under occupation since 2014.

Rev. Chui was detained with another priest of the OCU, Rev. Khristofor Khrimli.

On 22 September 2023, for allegedly committing an administrative offence under Part 5 of Article 5.26 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (Violation of legislation on freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and religious associations), the Telmanovsky District Court of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic imposed an administrative penalty on Rev. Chui in the form of a 30,000 Russian rubles fine with administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation. According to Russian media reports on 3 October 2023, both priests were accused of “supporting the Ukrainian government and armed groups in an anti-Russian and extremist manner, and also inciting hatred and enmity on a national and religious basis”.

In a commentary to Donbas News, the OCU Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol Sergius (Gorobtsov) said that the priests were sent to Russia after being initially held in a pre-trial detention centre in Donetsk. “Their relatives passed medicines, clothes, and food for them to the Donetsk pre-trial detention centre. And then the information was sent that they were transported to the territory of the Russian Federation. Therefore, they are somewhere on the territory of the Russian Federation, probably in custody”. Previously, the Metropolitan also said that priests were forced by bribery and threats to transfer to the Moscow Patriarchate.

The whereabouts of the priests were unknown for a long time. On 19 January 2024, the Norwegian human rights organization Forum 18 reported that both are in the Rostov Deportation Centre. Their deportation case was transferred to the Rostov Oblast Bailiff Service, which has an agreement with the Latvian authorities about the possibility of deporting priests to Latvia. The priests, however, rejected deportation and insisted on being returned to Donetsk oblast. The Russian authorities agreed to their return to occupied Donetsk only on the condition that the priests obtain Russian citizenship.

According to Sergiy (Horobtsov), Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol OCU, quoted by Forum 18, priests were also threatened with criminal prosecution in Russia for alleged ‘extremism’.

The address of the deportation centre where the detained priests are kept (visits are prohibited):
346859 Rostov oblast,
Neklinovskoy district,
village Sinyavskoe,
Centre for temporary detention of foreign citizens.