REPORT: American Pastor Kidnapped By Russian Forces


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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An American missionary was reportedly abducted by Russian troops in Ukraine early Saturday morning.

Dmitry Bodyu, 50, was allegedly forced to leave his family’s home in Melitopol by Russian troops, according to the Daily Beast. Bodyu’s wife, Helen, said that roughly eight to 10 Russian soldiers came into their home, took cell phones, computers and his United States passport, but were generally “non-aggressive,” the outlet continued.

“Are you guys American citizens?” was apparently the first question the troops asked Bodyu and his wife, NBC reported. Bodyu was born in the Soviet Union and emigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was 17. He returned to Crimea as an adult and moved to Ukraine in 2014 after the Russian annexation due to his American citizenship, his daughter Esther Bodyu-Ogawa told the outlet.

The troops appeared to know that Bodyu was a pastor when they entered his home, according to NBC. (RELATED: Russia Making Ukrainian Civilians Disappear, According To UN)

“It could be because we’re American citizens. It could be because he’s, you know, a big influencer. A lot of people follow him and really want to know what he’s preaching about and what he’s telling people, making sure he’s not, like, talking about Russia and trying to tell people, ‘Yes, this is a bad thing,'” Bodyu-Ogawa told NBC.

“I know they were going through all of his preaching videos, because that’s what they told my mom when they came back on Monday, to bring all their computers and phones back,” she continued.

Bodyu regularly posted videos of his work at the Word of Life Church. The family has not heard from Bodyu since he was taken, and they have no way of knowing where he is, according to the outlet.

The State Department is aware of the situation but did not comment citing privacy reasons, NBC reported. According to a Ukrainian spokeswoman for the nation’s deputy prime minister, at least 14 local leaders have been kidnapped or abducted by Russian forces since the start of the invasion.