Protestant priest recruits sons to spy on Ukrainian troops, faces treason charges

Source: Security Service of Ukraine

Ukraine’s Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said it filed  charges against an Protestant pastor for allegedly recruiting his sons to spy on Ukrainian military positions.

According to the SBU, the unnamed pastor led an FSB agent group operating in the Donetsk and Ternopil regions. The saga began in the summer of 2023 when the pastor left Ukraine for the European Union claiming an exemption as a ‘father of many children’ – he eventually ended up in Russia where he said yes to working for the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service.

The man later recruited his two adult sons for espionage.  One of them, a serviceman in a combat brigade, was detained by the SBU in April 2024. He was reportedly trying to pass on “secret information about the positions and fortifications” to Russian intelligence.

His second son was detained in the Ternopil region, where he was allegedly snooping on air defense positions and the locations of military training centers. He was caught as he was preparing to send the collected information to the Russian side.

Investigation revealed the pastor had been in touch with Sergey Karnaukhov, a Russian pundit  and undercover FSB operative. SBU has officially charged the pastor of treason in absentia under Art. 111 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code of Ukraine.

His sons are facing charges of “unauthorized dissemination of sensitive military information” under Art. 114-2 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code of Ukraine they are facing potential prison sentences ranging from 8 to 12 years.

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