Russian media have heavily influenced the country's opinion in favor of the possible annexation of Crimea. But there are pockets of skepticism.
A push to establish an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church has also prompted Russian Orthodox bishops in Germany to "temporarily" quit a joint episcopate council. Their departure follows patriarchal orders from Moscow.
The imminent emergence of an independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine deals a blow to Vladimir Putin's attempts to keep the country in Moscow's orbit and bruises the Russian Orthodox Church, writes Konstantin Eggert.
Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director jailed by Russia on terrorism charges, has agreed to eat again after a 144-day fast. Sentsov opposed Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
Russia's Orthodox Church has severed ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate, the leader of the worldwide Orthodox community. The move comes after it granted independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from Moscow.
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