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Russia vows to defend believers in Ukraine church dispute

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-church-kremlin/russia-vows-to-defend-believers-in-ukraine-church-dispute-idUSKCN1MM18O
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Oct 12, 2018 8:31 AM 6+ mon ago

Russia vows to defend believers in Ukraine church dispute

MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) - Russia vowed on Friday to defend Russian church believers in Ukraine from any illegal activity against them following Kiev's moves toward a historic split from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L) meets with Patriarch Filaret, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, in Kiev, Ukraine October 11, 2018. Mykhailo Markiv/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Ukraine wants to establish a national church, free from its traditional ties to Russia, which it says is a vital step to tackling Russian meddling in its affairs. Moscow opposes the move, arguing it would cause a schism in Orthodox Christianity.

The Kremlin's comments could inflame tensions between Kiev and Moscow, whose relations collapsed following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of a Moscow-backed separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Critics of Ukraine's plan ...

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