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French police investigate fire at Russian Orthodox Church in Paris

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By AFP  with Euronews
French police say they have launched an investigation into the fire.
French police say they have launched an investigation into the fire.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere, File

French police have launched an investigation after a Russian Orthodox Church in Paris was damaged by a fire.

The Saint-Seraphin-de-Sarov in the French capital's 15th arrondissement was ravaged by a blaze over the weekend.

Around 60 firefighters were dispatched to put out the fire on Sunday, which caused extensive damage to the small church but resulted in no casualties.

Paris's police prefecture said it was now probing whether the fire was accidental or caused by arson.

Since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, several French buildings with Russian links have been targeted by acts of vandalism.

The rector of the Paris church has denied that Sunday's blaze could have been caused by candles that had been left "unattended" by worshippers.

"The Saint-Seraphin-de-Sarov is not open outside of services, and only members of the parish in charge of maintenance have access to it," Archpriest Nicolas Crnokrak said.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had expressed "solidarity" with the Paris church after reports of the fire emerged on Easter weekend.