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Church must take sides in Donbas conflict - president

"What is going on in eastern Ukraine is called alien invasion," says the president.

The church must clearly state its attitude to the events in Donbas, President Petro Poroshenko stated in his speech at the celebration of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus-Ukraine.

The president described the events in the east of Ukraine as "alien invasion".

"I blatantly reject the palliatives like abstract "armed conflict "or "military showdown". Such assessments can be suggested from outside Ukraine. What is happening in eastern Ukraine is called alien invasion. I think it is not hard to find an analogue of this Ukrainian phrase in the Church Slavonic language," said Poroshenko.

The president thanked churches and religious organizations that came to the defence of Ukraine and continue to support the country's defenders. He also called on the clergy to pray for Ukrainian soldiers.

President Poroshenko is taking part in celebrations on the occasion of the Baptism of Rus at St. Volodymyr's Hill in Kyiv. Later on, the place will see the procession, organized by the UOC-KP.

Earlier, The All-Ukrainian Procession of the Cross for Peace, Love and Prayer for Ukraine procession by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate started on July 3 from the Svyatohorsk Lavra in the east of Ukraine, and on July 9 – from the Pochayiv Lavra in the west.

 On July 26, on the eve of the celebration of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine, both processions arrived in Kyiv, converged on St, Volodymyr Hill and passed along to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to participate in solemn liturgy.