Russian priest arrested after declaring Putins troops are going to hell

A Russian priest is facing up to 10 years in jail after claiming Putin's troops are en route to hell for waging war on Ukraine.

Outspoken Ioann Kurmoyarov, who last year demanded criminal charges be brought against Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, has been detained in St. Petersburg under a new law against spreading “false information” about the Russian military.

Following his arrest, investigators searched his house and seized equipment, two icons, a wooden cross and a cassock.

He is one of a number of high-profile people in Russia to speak out about the war in Ukraine, joining musicians and writers to voice their anger over the conflict.

Kurmoyarov posted a video on social media back in March responding to propagandist Vladimir Solovyov’s claim that Russians will “go to heaven” even if the war in Ukraine leads to a nuclear strike.

“I would like to disappoint everyone who believes in this ‘fake’,” said the former priestmonk of the Russian Orthodox Church and doctor of theology, adding that those who “unleash aggression” do not wind up in heaven.

“Ukraine did not attack Russia,” he said. “You will not be in any heaven, you’ll be in hell.”

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Following Kurmoyarov’s criticism of Shoigu over a new military cathedral outside Moscow, that at one point featured a mosaic of Vladimir Putin, Shoigu, and another one with soldiers holding a portrait of Stalin, he was defrocked.

Now he is looking at the prospect of spending the next 10 years in a Russian prison, while writers Alexander Nevzorov and Dmitry Glukhovsky, along with rock star Maksim Pokrovsky are also wanted by authorities, the latter for a song he wrote about the war.

At least three journalists who are charged in connection with the new law have also had their bank accounts blocked by Russian authorities, according to the human rights group Agora.

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