19 December 2016, 11:20
Patriarch Kirill successfully mediates release of Ukrainian soldier in DPR
Moscow/Kiev, December 19, Interfax - A Ukrainian military serviceman, Taras Kolodiy, who was captured in the Donbas conflict zone almost two years ago, was released in Donetsk on Sunday thanks to the participation by Russian Patriarch Kirill.
"The request for assistance in the release of Taras Kolodiy was addressed to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, who in turn was asked [to help] by relatives of the military serviceman," the Russian Orthodox Church said in a press release obtained by Interfax-Religion on Sunday.
The patriarch supported the petition and appealed to the people who had it within their power to resolve the issue favorably.
"The release of Taras Kolodiy is the result of the Church's peacemaking participation in the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, as well as testament to the high standing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The release of the captive took place without preconditions, as an act of good will," the statement said.
The Russian Orthodox Church is praying for cessation of the standoff in Ukraine and considers it important, to the extent that is possible, to secure the release of captured persons wherever they are by both parties to the conflict, the statement said.
Kolodiy was handed over to the Ukrainians at the Yelenovka/Volnovakha checkpoint, his life and health are not at risk, the Russian Church spokesperson said.
For his part, Ukraine's President Pyotr Poroshenko announced the Ukrainian soldier's release on Sunday.
"The SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] chief has just reported the release of our Cyborg Taras Kolodiy. After nearly two years of captivity he is free. A thank you to everyone who facilitated this!" Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page.