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todayonline - 1 month ago

Petrol bombs lobbed at Kiev church as Russia row festers

KIEV - Unknown assailants threw petrol bombs at a historic 18th century Orthodox church in the Ukrainian capital and attacked a priest early on Thursday morning, a church spokesman said, blaming Moscow for the incident. The attack comes amid rising tensions between Kiev and Moscow over Ukraine s decision to create a new national independent church and severing centuries-old ties with the Russian Orthodox Church. The petrol bombs did not explode and no damage was done to St. Andrew s church, a baroque late 18th century church which sits on a steep slope on one of Kiev s best-known tourist spots. The church spokesman, Archbishop Yevstraty, said the attackers, whom police said numbered four, used a spray against a priest. The Kiev authorities handed over the use of St. Andrew s to the Ecumenical Patriarch, the global spiritual leader of Orthodox Christianity who sits in Istanbul, while courting the patriarch s support for Ukrainian church independence. We see that Moscow s henchmen are dropping clear hints to intimidate representatives of Ecumenical Patriarch, Yevstraty said. Ukraine in October secured approval to set up an independent church from the Ecumenical Patriarch, a move fiercely opposed by the Russian orthodox church and the Kremlin. Ukraine says the split is an essential step to blocking out Russia s pernicious influence on its soil. Relations between the two countries plunged following Russia s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and support for separatist rebels in the Donbass region. REUTERS

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