MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin has criticized Ukraine’s move to set up a new Orthodox church independent from Moscow and promised to defend religious freedom.

Earlier this month, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople granted independence to a new Orthodox Church of Ukraine, formally severing its centuries-long ties with the Russian Orthodox Church. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who runs for re-election in March, has spearheaded the move that forced clergy and believers to choose between

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