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You're reading: Topless FEMEN activist greets Russian patriarch in Ukraine

A bare-breasted young woman lunged at the head of Russia's Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, on Thursday, screaming "Begone!" minutes after his plane landed in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

The protester, an activist of local women’s rights group
Femen, famous for its topless protests, was intercepted and led
away by security guards. The slogan “Kill Kirill” was written on
her back.

Femen said in a statement they were protesting against the
“illegal arrest” and “shameful trial” of the three members of
Russian female punk group Pussy Riot who derided President
Vladimir Putin in a protest in Moscow’s main cathedral in
February.

The women, who have been held in pre-trial custody for
almost five months, face up to seven years in jail on charges of
hooliganism for storming the altar in multi-coloured masks to
sing a “punk prayer” to the Virgin Mary to “Throw Putin Out!”

Femen activist Yana Zhdanova, who appeared at Kirill’s
greeting ceremony as a stringer for a local newspaper, was
detained and faced hooliganism charges, Interfax news agency
quoted police as saying.

Patriarch Kirill arrived in Ukraine to take part in
celebrations of the anniversary of ancient Russia’s conversion
to Christianity on July 27-28.

Although Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in
Ukraine, its Orthodox church is split into two branches, one of
which refuses to recognise the Moscow Patriarchate as a superior
authority.

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