On March 25th, 2014 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation issued a statement about the “frequent threats against priests in Ukraine”.
“Frequent attacks on the clergy in Ukraine indicate the atmosphere of national and religious intolerance in the country”, – said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Russian Foreign Minister refers to some threatening letter from representatives of the National Socialist Workers Party of Ukraine. Supposedly, the letter was received by the representative of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Olexander Shirokov who is hegumen of Abbot in Diocese of Cherkassy.
“Ukrainian radicals demanded from the respectful priest to stop literally “all pro-Moscow enemy propaganda”. If the priest does not heed to the threats of radicals, then drastic physical and extermination methods will be employed with respect to him and his family, as stated in the proclamation of the National Socialist Workers Party of Ukraine”, – said in a commentary of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The same day, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied this information.
“We have checked the information, and no party called the National Socialist Workers Party of Ukraine exists in Ukraine and we could not find any mention of it on the Internet”, – stated the Director of Information Policy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yevhen Perebiynis.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry also contacted the press service of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and found that the hegumen Olexander Shirokov only cooperates with the church in the Cherkassy region, however, is not on its staff list.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he is a monk, and the monks cannot have a family, as it is mentioned in the comments of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Moreover, according to Ukrainian diplomat the church stands on patriotic positions.