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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine Urges Russia to Give Church Back

Ukraine urged Russia on Tuesday to return a cathedral outside Moscow to the Ukrainian church that was ousted from the site by Russian police last week.

The Foreign Ministry sent a note of protest to the Russian Embassy calling for the return of the Epiphany Cathedral to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate, Interfax reported.

The diplomatic note conveys Ukraine's concern over the seizure of the cathedral and nearby buildings in the city of Noginsk, about 50 kilometers northwest of Moscow.

Police and a bailiff, saying they were enforcing a decision by a Moscow regional arbitration court, sealed off the buildings last week, closing down the Kiev Patriarchate's largest presence in neighboring Russia.

The Kiev Patriarchate, an Orthodox church that does not recognize the authority of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, said the police chased believers from the cathedral and used violence. The Kiev Patriachate accused the Russian Orthodox Church of using a restrictive new religion law to drive out rivals.

Officials at the Russian embassy in Kiev and the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Moscow declined to comment.