Putin attends Easter Mass in Moscow

STORY: Putin, dressed in a dark blue suit, a white shirt and dark purple tie, stood to one side in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, holding a lit red candle, live images showed.

Putin crossed himself several times during the ceremony and when Patriarch Kirill announced "Christ has risen," Putin joined the other members of the congregation with the reply "Truly he is risen." He otherwise did not speak.

Kirill on Saturday said he hoped the conflict would end quickly but did not condemn it. His statements backing the intervention have splintered the worldwide Orthodox Church.

Russia says it is carrying out a special military operation in Ukraine aimed at demilitarising and "denazifying" the country. Ukraine and the West reject that as a baseless pretext.

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