The Kremlin is having its soldiers on the front line of its invasion into Ukraine baptised in a bid to turn despotic President Vladimir Putin's offensive into a “holy war”.
The strange claim comes after a priest was pictured carrying out the baptism ceremony on Russian soldiers, but using a body bag to do so.
Viktor Ivanov, a priest for the Russian Orthodox Church in Ufa, took a trip to the frontline to boost the moral of the troops.
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And while there, he was approached by a Russian soldier, who asked him to baptise a comrade.
Detailing the saga on social media, he wrote: ”A strong man approached. … Modestly, as if embarrassed, he looks at me and timidly asks: ‘Father, our fighter wanted to be baptised. Is that possible to do?’
“Not a single basin was found (to use for the baptism).
“The black polyethylene bags that were used as the baptismal vessels were intended for cargo 200 (code for bodies of dead troops).”
There were also rumours on Ukrainian social media channels that the priest also baptised dead soldiers.
And later that day, the head of Russia's Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, said that Putin was fighting against the “Antichrist”.
He explained: “The example of Russia as a contemporary nation with developed science, technology and education, headed by a president who openly proclaims his faith forces many in the West to ask themselves, ‘why isn’t it like that with us?’”
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And adding fuel to the fire, top Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov endorsed the “holy war” theory, and claimed that Russia is embroiled in a “jihad” against Ukraine.
Speaking on Kremlin-backed TV, he said: “We're fighting against Satanists.
“This is a holy war – our guys are fighting against absolute evil.
“Things will be terribly difficult for us because we have sinned so much . . . we are confronted by a very big enemy.
“They rejected the faith of their parents and grandparents.
“Look how Satan dissects one country after another.”
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