Pastor abducted in Donetsk oblast


Alexander Kobzev, Pastor of the Church of Christ has almost certainly been abducted by Kremlin-backed militants.  His wife informs that contact with him was lost near 10 p.m. on July 27 near the approach to Ilovaisk.  The bad news comes from Said Ismagilov, Mufti of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Ukraine.  He and Pastor Alexander have both been taking part in the inter-faith prayer marathon in the centre of Donetsk which has been continuing now for almost 150 days. 

One other priest (at least) remains in captivity.  Father Yury Ivanov, from the Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate was abducted on July 8.    According to Said Ismagilov, militants had earlier turned up at Father Yury’s home and demanded that he ask Archbishop Serhiy of the Donetsk UOC KP to urgently come to his home, obviously so that the militants could abduct him.

In its latest report, published on July 28,  the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that the whereabouts of 375 people believed to have been taken prisoner by the militants remain unknown.

It listed examples of some of the 812 people who had been abducted or detained by these armed groups in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions since mid-April. “Some of those detained by the armed groups are local politicians, public officials and employees of the local coal mining industry; the majority are ordinary citizens, including teachers, journalists, members of the clergy and students.”

It says that armed groups “continue to abduct, detain, torture and execute people kept as hostages in order to intimidate and “to exercise their power over the population in raw and brutal ways.”  

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