The Ukrainian diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 4 condemned the blessing in Moscow of the Armenian Arbat battalion by clergy from the same church, Bishop Markos Hovhannesyan the head of the Ukrainian diocese said on July 4.

The Armenian Arbat battalion, a volunteer military formation that has been participating in the war against Ukraine, was formed in Moscow.

A blessing ceremony was held in the Armenian Apostolic Church in Moscow for the fighters of the newly created Armenian Arbat battalion on their way to Donbas to fight alongside Russian troops.

The Institute for the Study of War reported that Russian sources had enlarged photos of the Arbat volunteer battalion attending a sendoff ceremony at the Armenian Cathedral of Moscow on July 2: “One Russian source speculated that the volunteer battalion includes Armenian citizens as well as ethnic Armenians from Russian-occupied Abkhazia.”


Bishop Hovhannesyan wrote on Facebook: “It is with deep pain and disappointment that we learn about the blessing of the military, which took place in the Armenian church in the capital of Russia. For us, this is unacceptable and reprehensible.”

Hovhannesyan emphasized that in the first days of the war, the Armenian Church in Kyiv invited and brought Ukrainian volunteers, military doctors and volunteers to the altar for the “Washing of Feet” ceremony. According to the bishop, “they took upon themselves the holy mission of being defenders of peace.”

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He added: “To this day, they are devoted and faithful to their mission, and we are together in our victory!”

According to Ukrainska Pravda Sunday’s ceremony in Moscow was attended by a person involved in the murder of Ukrainian journalist and Euromaidan participant Viacheslav Veremii, a correspondent for the newspaper Visti.

Photos of the ceremony appear to show, Armen Sarkisian, aka Armen Horlivsky, who is a suspect in Veremii’s homicide. Armed men killed the journalist in Kyiv on the night of Feb. 18-19, 2014.


The investigation into the Veremii case named Sarkisian as one of the organizers of the “death squads” that hunted the participants of the Revolution of Dignity. Yuriy Krysin, who was convicted of an attack on a journalist, testified against him. Krysin claimed to have received $20,000 from Sarkisian for organizing terror against activists, but later recanted his testimony.

Since Feb. 24, 2022, Sarkisian has been engaged in looting and extortion of enterprises in the territory temporarily occupied by the Russians, Ukrainska Pravda reported. His main task was the creation of a new private military company, which was to be sponsored by the pro-Kremlin Russian-Armenian businessman Samvel Karapetyan, who was also at the ceremony.

In January 2018 Karapetyan was included by the US Treasury Department in the “Putin list”, which consisted of 114 senior political figures and 96 oligarchs, all of whom rose to prominence under Russian President Vladimir Putin, CNN reported.

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