Hieromonk Viktor Inyakin, the rector of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) church in Kherson, turned out to be a trafficker of Russian weapons. He was detained by Ukrainian law enforcement officers while trying to sell enemy anti-aircraft missile systems. The man wanted to receive UAH 115,000 for them.

On 26 September 2023, the Security Service of Ukraine reported the detention of the rector of a UOC-MP church, who was clandestinely selling weapons and ammunition left over from the Russian army’s escape in the de-occupied territory of Kherson region.

The man was detained while trying to sell two Russian Igla portable anti-aircraft missile systems with components. 

“In addition to these man-portable air defence systems, the priest ‘offered’ to buy ammunition for RPG-7 hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers. The seller in the cassock estimated the cost of such munitions at UAH 115 thousand. It was established that the suspect was looking for his clients through his own connections, including in criminal circles,” the statement said.

According to law enforcement officers, the man kept Russian arsenals right on the territory of the construction of a new church of the UOC (MP) in Kherson. 

“Among the things that the cleric kept on the territory of the church construction site and in the basement of a nine-storey building were charges for grenade launchers, a machine gun and a Kalashnikov assault rifle with components, F-1 combat grenades, almost 7,000 rounds of ammunition for automatic weapons, including large-calibre samples,” law enforcement officers report.

The priest who sold Russian weapons was Hieromonk Viktor Inyakin (née Vitaly Inyakin). The man serves in the church of the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate in Kherson. This was reported to Slidstvo.Info by its own sources in Kherson.

On his page on the banned Russian social network VKontakte, Hieromonk Viktor raised money for the construction of a church in the village of Zelenivka, Kherson region, a few weeks before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The man notes in the post that this church was “reclaimed from the schismatics”.

In 2014, the parish of the Church of the Holy Great Martyr Barbara joined the OCU of the Kyiv Patriarchate because of the position of the Moscow Patriarchate on the war that Russia has unleashed and is waging in Ukraine. 

“According to the press service of the patriarchate, the community supported its priest, who believes that he cannot do otherwise in such a difficult time for the country, despite threats and calls not to leave the ‘canonical’ church,” the statement said. 

Inyakin often turns to his subscribers, asking them to transfer funds for repairs or to pay utility bills for the church.

Screenshot of the post containing calls to donate money (in Russian)

It seems that the priest did not have enough donations from parishioners if he decided to sell weapons left by the occupiers right next to the construction of the church. 

Immediately after Inyakin’s detention, the Kherson Diocese of the UOC-MP issued a decree condemning the priest’s actions and banning him from service. 

“The Kherson Diocese of the UOC-MP strongly condemns the actions of Hieromonk Viktor (Inyakin), which are a sin before God, a crime before the state and which discredit the Church, sow temptation in society and can be used for provocative purposes,” the statement reads.

Decree of the Kherson Diocese of the UOC-MP

Vitaly Inyakin was served a notice of suspicion for illegal handling of weapons (Article 263, Part 1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). The man is currently in custody and faces up to 7 years in prison.

READ ALSO: “We are afraid that his friends will come”: residents of a village in Sumy region are wary of a collaborator priest with a criminal past

The material has been prepared with the support of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the joint initiative «European Renaissance of Ukraine». The material represents the position of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union or the International Renaissance Foundation.