Controversial religious procession barred from entering Kiev

MOSCOW (AP) " Authorities in Ukraine's capital say pilgrims in a major religious procession connected with a Moscow-loyal church will be taken to their goal by bus, a compromise reached hours after participants in the procession were barred from entering Kiev on foot.

The foot procession was halted in the city's outskirts on Tuesday after Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said grenades had been planted along the route. Ukrainian nationalists had blocked the procession from entering the city on Monday, pelting them with eggs and denouncing them as "agents of Moscow."

The Orthodox Christian faithful in Ukraine are divided between one church that comes under the Moscow Patriarchate and a splinter church under a Ukrainian leader. The religious procession is by adherents of the Moscow church.

The marches are in observance of the holiday marking the adoption of Christianity by what is now Russia and Ukraine in the 10th century. They are to commemorate the day at the hillside monument in central Kiev to Saint Volodymyr, the prince who enacted the adoption of Christianity.

Andrei Krishchenko, a top national police official, said that after the visit to the monument Wednesday, the pilgrims would be allowed to make their way on foot to the Pechersk Monastery about three kilometers (two miles) away.

The monastery, noted for its extensive caves, is one of Orthodox Christianity's holiest sites.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine, which share linguistic and cultural ties dating back hundreds of years, soured after Russia threw its support behind rebel separatists fighting government troops in eastern Ukraine. This conflict has claimed more than 9,400 lives and displaced more than 1 million people since it began in 2014.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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