Kiev: An 80-year-old nun has been killed in an explosion that wounded eight others at a church in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye, officials said on Thursday.
The explosion at the church late Wednesday took place on the last day of a visit to Ukraine by Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill that has been hotly disputed by nationalists. It was not clear if the events were linked.
The woman, named as nun Lyudmila, was taken to hospital in a serious condition after the blast and doctors were unable to save her, said civic health official Nadezhda Sevalneva according to local media.
"She was in a very bad condition. She had lost a lot of blood, she had 40 percent burns to the body and had numerous broken bones," she said according to the reporter.zp.ua news site.
The building belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is under the Russian patriarchate in Moscow. The church operates in Ukraine alongside dissident Orthodox confessions, with which it has tense relations.
A criminal investigation has been opened into premeditated murder, local media said. Deadly explosions are extremely unusual in Ukraine.
Local police said that the damage to the church caused by the blast was not significant and the device appeared to have been homemade.
Borys Petrov, governor of the Zaporozhye region, said that the blast was caused by explosives of 500 grammes of TNT equivalent, reporter.zp.ua said.
Kirill`s week long visit to Kiev, Odessa and other Ukrainian cities had sparked small-scale protests led by nationalist parties like UNA-UNSO and Svoboda.