While Russia claims it targets only military installations using precision-guided weapons, the ground truth appears much different. Of course, in the fog of war, very little information can be verified. But pictures and accounts of casualties in schools, hospitals and apartment blocks tell a grim story of ordinary people being caught in the crossfire.
The Ukraine invasion has already created an internal humanitarian crisis, especially in urban areas where communal services and utilities have been cut, leaving residents without heat, light – and the most crucial infrastructure for survival – sanitary water. Countless windows blown in by detonations, exposing living quarters to the Ukrainian cold. The less fortunate “de-housed”, missiles or artillery having left them homeless. Panic buying and hospitals filling, leaving food and medicine scarce. Cemeteries filling up. Internment camps. I know; I saw the same human miseries in Sarajevo.
The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) reports that, as of today, some 368,000 Ukrainians have already fled west, mostly to neighboring Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary. According to an ABC report, Poland is prepared to take upwards of a million refugees. The numbers of displaced Ukrainians may exceed that, give the “strong likelihood that this war will produce substantial refugee crisis.” A list of trustworthy U.S.-based charities addressing these needs can be found here. John Fea has collected evangelical sites as well.
The evangelical church in Ukraine is a strong one. Ukraine is the main missionary-sending country for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Already, churches are mobilizing to support refugees. They are appealing for Ukrainian language Bibles – people are desperate and the Ukrainian Bible Society can’t keep up with requests. A future under Russian rule looks ominous – if the persecution of evangelicals in Donbass and Luhansk is any indication. Looking forward, the strength of Ukrainian believers will be sorely tested.
“Do not imagine for a moment prayer doesn’t matter. Pray for Ukraine… Pray for the presence of Jesus to permeate households & hiding places & be a shield & comfort to them. Pray a Psalm – maybe 27 or 31 – as intercession. Let’s pray.” She’s among countless evangelicals coming together – despite differences – to petition God on behalf of those afflicted. “It is an actual war, and our prayers matter, your prayers matter, one”, an émigré at one Florida church pleaded.