VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – A former KGB employee facing deportation from Canada has taken refuge in a church to avoid being sent back to Russia.

Mikhail Lennikov accepted an offer of sanctuary from the First Lutheran Church in Vancouver to avoid being deported on Wednesday.

Canadian immigration officials ordered Lennikov in 2002 saying there were reasonable grounds to believe he engaged in acts of espionage or subversion against a democratic government during his tenure at the KGB.

A Federal Court on Monday refused to put off his deportation.

Lennikov arrived in Canada in 1997. He says he’s doing whatever it takes to ensure he, wife Irina and teenage son Dmitri aren’t split up. His wife and son have been allowed to stay.

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