Russian Orthodox Church Suspends Priest Who Blessed Ukraine-bound Fighters

The Russian Orthodox Church has suspended a priest who publicly blessed a group of fighters heading to eastern Ukraine, encouraging them to battle government troops he called "fascist scum". Vladimir Zaytsev, from the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, was filmed on March 12 sending off some 50 camouflaged fighters, some wearing balaclavas and waving the flags of two pro-Russian regions that want to break away from Ukraine. "Fight against the fascist scum if needed, and I think it will be necessary," said Zaytsev, referring to Ukrainian government forces. Moscow denies sending arms and troops to back the pro-Russian rebels, and says any Russians fighting there are volunteers.



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