The eastern Orthodox church has over 250 million members around the world.

Its spiritual leader is based in Istanbul.

But for followers in Ukraine, there's a new found independence.

Churches there have officially cut ties with their Russian branch - accusing it of what they call 'pro-Moscow propaganda'.

The decision has angered Russian leaders, with Moscow warning of what it calls dire consequences.

So, was this a politically motivated decision?

Valentin Yakushik - Professor of Political Science at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

Marat Shterin - Professor of Sociology of Religion and Department Head of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College London.

Alexander Bratersky - Senior Foreign Policy at newspaper.

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Xinhua 23 Jan 2019 08:12 CET

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