The Patriarch of Moscow is backing Vladimir Putin's claims that Ukraine is not independent.
Patriarch Kirill spoke of those 'who inhabit Russian land' in Ukraine and Belarus during his preach in Moscow on Sunday, March 20.
The Orthodox figurehead shared hopes of 'fraternal relations' between the two nations, which have been at war for almost a month.
Russian forces continue to bomb areas of Ukraine. Kherson fell to Russian forces just days ago, whilst the situation in Mariupol grows increasingly desperate.
Speaking to a congregation in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, he said: "May the Lord protect the Russian land and the peoples who today inhabit this land in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
All of us, representatives of these three peoples, are connected by a single Slavic culture."
"Our most important prayer must be that the devil does not permit brother to raise hand against brother. . . We are a united people, who, though living today in different countries, came out of a single Kiev baptismal font, united by a common faith and common historical destiny."
He then went on to say that it was "essential to defend God's truth" and talked of "common national identity" between Ukraine and Russia.
espite the words shared by Patriarch Kirill, a number of Orthodox leaders have condemned the invasion of Ukraine.