|Russian Orthodox Army
(Русская православная армия)
|Participant in "War in Donbass|
Flag of the Russian Orthodox Army
"Russian Orthodox extremism
|Headquarters||"Donetsk, "Donetsk Oblast, "Ukraine|
|Area of operations||"Donbass, "Ukraine|
|Part of||"United Armed Forces of Novorossiya|
|Battles and wars||"War in Donbass|
The Russian Orthodox Army ("Russian: Русская православная армия, Russkaya pravoslavnaya armiya) is a "Christian extremist "militant group in "Ukraine that was founded in May 2014, as part of the insurgency and following "War in Donbass. It reportedly had 100 members at the time of its founding, including locals and Russian volunteers. As fighting between separatists and the "Ukrainian government worsened in "Donbass, their membership rose to 350, and later 4,000. Notable engagements of the ROA include the June 2014 skirmishes in "Mariupol and "Amvrosiivka Raion. The headquarters of the ROA is located in an occupied "Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) building in "Donetsk city. Members had no special training apart from the usual conscription service in the army and swore allegiance to "Igor Girkin ("Strelkov"), insurgent and Minister of Defence of the self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic. Along with other separatist groups in the region, the ROA has been noted of “kidnapp[ing], beat[ing], and threaten[ing] Protestants, Catholics, and members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church… as well as participat[ing] in anti-Semitic acts.” The ROA is designated as a "terrorist organization by the Ukrainian Government.
In late November 2014, the group gained attention after abducting prominent Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, Sergeii Kulbaka, and Roman Catholic priest, Father Pawel Witek. According to the "Defence Ministry of Ukraine, the ROA has also been in conflict with another pro-Russian militia, the "Vostok Battalion, which accused the ROA of looting, and of avoiding combat.
In July 2015, the Russian Orthodox Army, abducted Tykhon Kulbaka, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest. According to the report, "His captors reportedly subjected him to repeated mock executions and took away his medication, threatening him with a ‘slow death’ unless he joined the Russian Orthodox Church. He also sustained physical injuries before his release." .Other churches that are targeted include God’s Church of Ukraine, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, and a variety of Protestant denominations.