Christians in eastern Ukraine fear growing persecution from pro-Russian separatists who have declared religious groups not affiliated to the Russian Orthodox Church to be their potential enemy.

Since the Russian-backed rebels established the Donetsk People’s Republic in April 2014, their self-declared government made Russia’s Orthodox Church their official faith.

The rebels have arrested Protestant and Catholic leaders in Donetsk and other rebel-held cities, accusing them of being agents for the West or spies for what they say is Kiev’s fascist government.

The leading elder of the Church of Christ, Leonid Krezhanovsky, has had his premises taken over by the rebels. He said: “We are unfavourable to the current rebel regime. It’s becoming worse, and I predict it will continue to get worse, because this war does not look like it will end soon.”

Source: Al Jazeera