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Russia's Orthodox Patriarch has condemned suicide bomb attacks in Volgograd, blaming them on foreigners "captive to dark forces".
Following the twin suicide bomb blasts on Sunday and Monday, which left 31 dead and dozens injured, Patriarch Kirill said in a telegram to the city's governor: “Death and mutilation have been sown by terrorists coming from various nations, countries and regions, but sharing an ideology of hatred."
The Patriarch said the Orthodox Church would continue co-operating with the Central Spiritual Office for Muslims in Russia and other groups opposing "aggressive interpretations of Islam".
However, he added that the attacks, by people "living in anger and captive to dark forces", had nothing to do with "any references to religion", and would "unite all concerned citizens in vigorous opposition to the evil of terror”.
The attacks, widely blamed on Islamist militants seeking to disrupt preparations for the 7-23 February Winter Olympics at the Black Sea report of Sochi, were also condemned by Muslim leaders in Russia.
Meanwhile another prominent Orthodox official, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Church and Society Commission, urged the Government to "take a closer look" at Muslim organisations with foreign funding and consider banning "radical interpretations of Islam".