'The new church structure is a merely political and secular project. Its main goal is to drive the wedge between the nations of Ukraine and Russia, based not only on the national but also on religious differences. There is no coincidence in Kyiv's statement about the 'final gaining of independence from Moscow', he said.
'I repeat: there's no religious life in it, as we're facing dangerous and irresponsible political games. There's no independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, too. It is actually under full control of Istanbul', Putin added.
The Russian leader claimed that the clergy and believers of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine are 'prosecuted, have their shrines and monasteries taken away from them, while the church faces the attempts to be deprived of its legal name'.
'It is obvious that Ukraine's leadership can't help but understand that the attempts to forcefully bring believers to someone else's shrine may have serious consequences... Of course, Russia has no intentions to interfere with the religious processes, let alone these taking place in the neighboring sovereign state', Putin concluded.
Earlier it was reported that the members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate signed the Tomos on providing autocephaly for the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew passed the Tomos of autocephaly and bishops’ crosier to the Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy. The event happened during the festive service in St. George's Cathedral in Istanbul.
Besides, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko guarantees the state’s respect for the religious choice of every citizen of the country.