January 31, 2019 / 1:52 PM / 20 days ago

Russia's Putin accuses Kiev of meddling in Orthodox faith

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during an event dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia January 31, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the government in Kiev of flagrantly meddling in the life of Orthodoxy in Ukraine where a new national church has broken away from Moscow’s orbit.

Speaking at a Russian Orthodox Church event attended by Patriarch Kirill in Moscow, Putin said that Russia reserved the right to defend people’s rights to worship.

Russia bitterly opposes the move earlier this month to grant the Ukrainian Church autonomy from the Russian Orthodox Church, and Putin has warned of possible bloodshed.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Christian Lowe

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