Liese came up with the best-ever analogy for how we felt about Ukraine's political situation as of one month ago: it was like the end of Star Wars: A New Hope when they blow up the Death Star and everyone is exuberant as if they are all going to live happily ever after. But then…Empire Strikes back. They didn’t really win the war and the Empire wasn't going to take this whole rebellion and “you just blew up the Death Star” thing sitting down.
The protestors in Kyiv managed to do the impossible in ousting the corrupt regime of Yanukovich and remove Ukraine’s leadership from Russia’s sphere of influence. It was a joyous occasion (not because nobody wanted to be in Russia’s sphere of influence, but because nobody wanted the corruption and injustice that had reigned in Ukraine for the last 15 years) but the power that backed Yanukovich and helped him gain and maintain his power base is not going to let go of Ukraine that easily. There are at least two films left and we need a Jedi to return before all of this is over.
Thankfully there has been no war outside of Crimea yet. Ukraine has done everything it can to prevent a war and it seems like it has foiled Russia’s plans for a large scale invasion to “save Russian-speaking people from an illegitimate fascist government.”
The propaganda war that Russian media has been waging against Ukraine has been shown to be lies by all western media outlets and it seems only people in Russia who haven’t heard otherwise still think that the government in Kyiv is illegitimate, that it is full of Russian-hating fascists, that Russian speakers are in danger throughout Ukraine, and that the people in Crimea had a free, open vote to join Russia in accordance with all international law. The rest of the world has stood by Ukraine to say that all those statements are false.
The pro-Russia rallies in Donetsk and Kharkiv are losing momentum as it is becoming more clear to everyone that there are very few Ukrainian citizens (ethnically Russian or otherwise) who want to split from Ukraine and join Russia and that most of these pro-Russian demonstrations and protests are largely a show, put on to further Russia’s propaganda machine.
The restraint shown by the Ukrainian military up till now has helped to further de-escalate the situation and Russia is running out of reasons to show the world why it is perfectly legitimate to invade your neighbor if you don’t like their behavior.
We always appreciate your continued prayers for the situation in Ukraine, as well as for our health and our church. We'll try to keep these updates coming as the situation evolves.