OCU calls on international community and religious leaders to help release Fr. Vasyl Vyrozub from Russian captivity
This is stated on the OCU page on Facebook.
"On the third day after the Russian full-scale invasion broke out, on February 27, it was reported that the rector of the Holy Trinity Church in Odesa, Fr Vasyl Vyrozub, who was part of the Ukrainian mission to rescue border guards on the island of Zmeiny, was captured together with the crew of the civilian rescue vessel Saphir. Since then, the priest and chaplain of the OCU has been in Russian captivity, suffering from moral and physical torture.
This is reported by witnesses – crew members, chaplains of Protestant religious organizations and other Ukrainians released due to the exchange. As for Fr Vasyl, it was reported that he had already been transported several times from place to place, from the Crimea to the Russian Federation and a pre-trial detention center in the Rostov region.
It is clear that appealing to the conscience and mercy of the Russian invaders is of no avail, and therefore we appeal to representatives of the international community, religious leaders and all missions with a request to facilitate the release of Archpriest Vasyl Vyrozub from Russian captivity!" the note says.
It should be noted that together with Fr Vasyl Vyrozub, yet another priest, Fr Oleksandr Chokov, was then captured. He is a military chaplain of the Mykhailo Ostrohradsky Separate Marine Brigade.
According to him, Archpriest Vasyl Vyrozub is being held in terrible conditions. The invaders accuse a priest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine of espionage.
"Priests Oleksandr Chokov, Leonid Bolgarov and medical professional Ivan Tarasenko were released from Russian captivity, but the OCU priest, Fr Vasyl Vyrozub, is still being held in pre-trial detention center No. 2 of Belgorod district, Stary Oskol town, Russia. He was imprisoned in a punishment cell, tortured, accused of espionage, etc. It is a shame to beat a priest and captured soldiers," Fr Oleksandr Chokov said.
The military chaplain said that, apart from Fr Vasyl Vyrozub, about 150 other Ukrainian soldiers remain in this pre-trial detention center, who are also being tortured by their enemies. He recalled that such actions are prohibited by the Geneva Convention relative to the POW treatment and called on international organizations to appeal to the Russian authorities with a demand for the release of prisoners.