Max Hunder is a reporter for Reuters.

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Communities Torn as Ukraine Turns Its Back on Moscow-Linked Church

by Max Hunder, Reuters 05-15-2023

A woman pleases a candle before a service in the church which switched from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the village of Hrabivtsi, Vinnytsia region, Ukraine April 23, 2023. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

As a crowd gathered outside the white-brick Orthodox church in the village of Karyshkiv in western Ukraine, raised voices quickly turned to shouting. Soon old women were crying. The villagers were quarrelling over the affiliation of their parish church, which belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) that the government in Kyiv accuses of being under the influence of Moscow.

Ukraine Prepares Law Banning Russian Churches

Ukrainian law enforcement officers inspect one of churches of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine Nov. 22, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko

The Ukrainian government will draw up a law banning churches affiliated with Russia under moves described by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as necessary to prevent Moscow being able to “weaken Ukraine from within.”