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Vladimir Putin 'Possessed By Satan,' Head Of Ukrainian Orthodox Church Says

08/09/2014 15:53 BST | Updated 08/09/2014 15:59 BST

Vladimir Putin has been accused of being possessed by Satan by a church leader and - possibly worse - called "self-centred" by the Dalai Lama.

Patriarch Filaret, the head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church, made the comment as increasing swathes of the country and the West blame the Russian president for supporting and arming the pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, where fighting has so far killed 3,000 people.

He said Putin was "trying to incite killings and bloodshed" and compared him to Cain, the son of Adam and Eve who kills his brother Abel in the Bible.

vladimir putin

Vladimir Putin was accused of being like Satan by a Ukrainian church leader

"With great regret I have to say now publicly that among the rulers of this world upon the fact of baptism, belonging to the Orthodox Church, appeared a real new Cain - not by name, but by deeds," he said in a statement published on the church's website in Russian, Ukrainian and English.

"These matters indicate that the above mentioned governor as the first in the history fratricide Cain, came under the action of Satan."

He adds: "The greatest blame for all this lies on the above-mentioned governor. In his will and power is to immediately stop the bloodshed and death, but it is for the sake of his pride he continues to multiply evil.

"He calls himself a brother to the Ukrainian people, but in fact according to his deeds, he really became the new Cain, shedding the brotherly blood and entangling the whole world with lies."

Russia forcibly annexed the Crimea peninsula earlier this year and Barack Obama accused Putin last week of "tanks and troops and arms and advisers under the guise of separatists" into eastern Ukraine, where fierce fighting has taken place and a fragile ceasefire has now come into affect.

The dead of the conflict now tops 3,000 if the 298 killed on MH17 - shot down by the separatists - are included, the UN has said.

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Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama said Putin was "self-centred" for not relinquishing power in Russia and "trying to rebuild the Berlin Wall" with his actions.

He criticised the fact Putin went from being president, to prime minister then back to president.

"That's a bit too much," he told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "This is very self-centred." "His attitude is: 'I, I, I'."

"We had become accustomed (to the fact) that the Berlin Wall has fallen. Now President Putin seems to want to rebuild it. But he is hurting his own country by doing this. Isolation is suicide for Russia."

Remarkably, he had kinder words for China - the country that invaded Tibet, of which he is the spiritual leader,

He said: "China wants to be part of the global political system and will be ready to accept the international rules in the long run.

"I don't have the impression that this accounts for Russia and President Putin, as well, at the moment."

The ceasefire in Ukraine has largely held but remains shaky, Reuters has reported.

"Overall the ceasefire held even though it is still shaky," Ambassador Thomas Greminger of Switzerland, the current chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told an extraordinary meeting of the 57-nation organisation.

The OSCE has monitors deployed in Ukraine, keeping tabs on the situation.