Last Friday the President of Ukraine issued a unilateral ceasefire as the first step in implementing a plan for peace in Ukraine. As negotiations and talks proceeded through the weekend many of the separatist/mercenary fighters in eastern Ukraine joined the ceasefire as Putin backed the peace plan and Russia’s parliament revoked its declaration of war against Ukraine (veiled as “authorization for military force in Ukraine”). But many of the Russian leaders of the separatists said they would not join the ceasefire and they continued attacking Ukrainian positions culminating in the downing of a Ukrainian helicopter on Wednesday, which killed 9 and brings the death toll since April to almost 500.
One of the big reasons for a unilateral ceasefire was to allow for the opening of channels for humanitarian aide to those caught in the war zone. Thousands of people have been trying to flee from the embattled cities in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (states) because the cities have been cut off from supplies by the separatists which has stopped the flow of food and fuel into these places. Grocery stores are empty, business are shut down, water has been shut off in some places, all because the separatists have taken over the city and cut it off from the rest of Ukraine.
This has created a humanitarian crisis in many places and refugees are fleeing as they are able, but many are prevented from leaving as the trains and buses are not running and fuel is hard to come by for transportation.
Our church has decided that we would like for our facility/building to be of use to refugees. So last week we began to contact organizations who are helping people flee the war. Right now we have four women staying in the guest rooms in our church and a family of 7 staying with a family from our church.
|Refugees from Sloviansk arrive at our church|
With the shooting down of the Ukrainian helicopter yesterday it is looking like the next steps of the President’s peace plan will not be implemented. That means that possibly tens of thousands of people will be trying to leave the besieged eastern cities in the next couple of days and weeks as the Ukrainian army cracks down on the insurgency.
We are looking at how we can outfit the space we have to house more refugees at our church, possibly by fixing up some rooms to turn into dorms and putting in another bathroom and shower room.
Please pray for peace in Ukraine.
Pray for those who are stuck in the war zones.
Pray for those who have fled their homes for safety.
Pray for churches throughout Ukraine who are taking the lead to receive refugees.
Pray for more churches to join the work.
Pray for our church that God would provide for those who have come to us.
Pray that God would lead us and give us wisdom in how to continue to minister.