Armed men raided a church in Alchevsk, eastern Ukraine on 6 August and detained a church pastor .
The men, thought to be from the security ministry of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), interrupted a service and forced the congregation to lie face down on the floor. They then seized the church’s computer. The pastor and a number of other leaders were detained for several hours and then ordered to appear in court.
In February 2018, authorities in the autonomous region of the LPR announced that all religious associations would be required to register by the end of August. In July, the security ministry posted on its website that it had banned the activity of one group of evangelical churches, which it described as an “extremist religious organisation”.
The LPR was formed in 2014 as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Evangelical churches in the conflict-racked Lugansk region have been targeted by separatist elements, as they are thought of as pro-European.