2018-12-20 18:01:00

Ukraine church schism ahead of election meant to split Russians, Ukrainians Putin (updated)

Moscow, December 20, Interfax - The church schism in Ukraine has been brought about for electoral purposes and in order to deepen the split between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"All of this is being done ahead of the electoral campaign. And this is aimed at a deeper split between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. This certainly has political underpinnings," Putin said at his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

"There is nothing good here for religious freedoms on the whole. It is a blatant and rude violation of religious freedoms," he said.

What concerns him the most is "that the redistribution of property is definitely behind all of this."

"In fact, this is essentially already taking place. It may become extremely severe, even bloody. God help us, this won't happen, I would not like it to happen. I just pity the people who are protecting their interests. They are defenseless and unarmed. As a rule, they are elderly people, women," Putin said.

"The danger of this redistribution certainly exists," he said.