Incredible scenes unfolded in a Ukrainian city when a Russian priest interrupted the funeral of a Ukrainian soldier by hitting another priest from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with a cross for comments he made about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Video from the July 22 funeral of soldier Oleksandr Zinivy shows a Russian priest, identified as Mykhailo Vasylyuk by local activist Serhiy Timkov, rushing the podium where a Ukrainian priest, identified as Anatoliy Dudko, delivered remarks.
Dudko reportedly said that Putin unleashed the war in Ukraine in part to protect believers of the Russian Orthodox Church, which prompted Vasylyuk to approach him.
Footage shows the Russian priest trying to rip the cross from Dudko’s neck before striking him with the cross in his hand. The fight was broken up by members of the military, who pulled Vasylyuk away. The funeral service then continued.
In the Vinnytsia region, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) attacked a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC)
A supporter of Putin's priest Gundyaev hit his "colleague" with a cross because the representative of the UOC accused the ROC of helping the occupiers. pic.twitter.com/FJwBdknysY
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) July 28, 2022
The Russian priest tried to pull the cross from Dudko’s neck before hitting him with the cross he was holding. The fight was interrupted by the intervention of the military, who removed Vasiliuk, so that the funeral could continue.
Local activist, Serhiy Timkov, reported that Dudko was slightly injured by the Russian priest’s attack. According to Ukrainian media outlet Vinbazar, Vinnytsia police were informed of the incident and ordered a criminal investigation.
Local outlets reported that Zinivy died near Mykolaiv in the city of Vinnytsia.
Timkov, who detailed the altercation on Facebook, said Dudko suffered minor injuries as a result.
“In my opinion, [the incident] crosses all possible and impossible limits of arrogance,” the activist wrote. “Based on the above, I further ask law enforcement authorities to ensure order at any gatherings where there is a conflict.”
Vinbazar reported that Vinnytsia police were notified of the incident and that authorities have opened up a criminal investigation into the matter.