December 17, 2018 / 10:39 AM / a month ago

Kremlin says new Ukrainian church being used for political ends

FILE PHOTO - Ukraine's President Poroshenko and newly elected head of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox church Metropolitan Epifaniy (Dumenko) speak to believers in front of the Saint Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine December 15, 2018. Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Monday accused Ukraine’s politicians of using the creation of a new Ukrainian Orthodox church independent of Moscow for political ends.

Ukraine chose the head of a new national Orthodox church on Saturday, marking a historic split from Russia which its leaders see as vital to the country’s security and independence.

“In Ukraine, these processes, this schism-creating activity is completely mixed up with politics, which of course is probably not allowed in church canon,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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