On a Sunday in early April, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church stood inside the Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces outside Moscow and delivered a sermon endorsing President Vladimir Putin’s war. It was the same day Western leaders decried reports of a massacre of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha by Russian forces.

“It was we who broke the back of fascism, which would have conquered the world if not for Russia,” said Patriarch Kirill, flanked by uniformed Russian troops inside the grand building commemorating Russia’s victory over invading Nazi forces in World War II. “God will help us today, too.”

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