Moscow: Declaration of Independence of Ukrainian church/"provocation" powered by Washington

Moscow _ Agencies

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to recognize an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a "provocation" backed by Washington.

He described the move as "provocations from the Patriarch of Constantinople, adopted with direct public support from Washington," according to an interview published on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"Interference in the life of the church is legally forbidden in Ukraine and Russia," he said. And in any natural state  ".

After a two-day holy compound, the Patriarchate of Constantinople proclaimed the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which was historically under the umbrella of the Russian church.

The move angered the patriarch of Moscow as he would lose influence over thousands of churches if they decided to secede and join the new Independent church.

Earlier on Friday, the Kremlin said it would "protect the interests of the Orthodox believers in the country."

Declaring the independence of the Ukrainian Church would increase the tension between Kiev and Russia.

Relations between the two countries collapsed during the 2014 uprising, followed by Russia's annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict between Kiev and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.


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