Battleground shifts from Kiev to Crimea

Please continue to pray for Ukraine.  (Image courtesy Sergey Rakhuba via Facebook)

Please continue to pray for Ukraine.
(Image courtesy Sergey Rakhuba via Facebook)

Ukraine (MNN) — The battle for Ukraine has shifted from Kiev to southern Crimea. Protestors took to the streets of the regional capital yesterday as officials met to discuss their options and Russia flexed its military muscle.

As interim president Oleksandr Turchynov prepares to build a new government, Ukraine’s unrest shows no signs of stopping.

Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions, helps six ministries in Ukraine. They’re still planning to move forward with a major outreach project, despite the unrest.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered some 150,000 troops to test their combat-readiness in tests scheduled to run through the weekend. While Russian defense officials denied a link between Ukraine’s unrest and their military developments, some analysts were skeptical.

“By holding up the prospect of intervention…it’s a way for Moscow to signal to the Ukrainian elite that it should be cautious in terms of how it moves forward,” a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Russian expert told Deutsche Welle.

At the same time, Russian state media says the Foreign Ministry is calling on Orthodox clerics in Ukraine to prevent religious conflict. Officials issued a statement yesterday calling on “all sober-minded forces in the country to avoid further escalation of tensions and prevent the country from plunging into a religious confrontation.”

Meanwhile, Christian Aid-contacts share the effect Ukraine’s unrest is having on students studying at their Bible Institute.

“The young people we are training for ministry are watching the news and seeing other young people die on the streets…. It is motivating them to go and preach the Gospel,” shares a ministry leader.

Christian Aid is supporting a major initiative to distribute New Testaments in thousands of villages and small towns where there are no churches. Called the “Summertime for Jesus” project, hundreds of Christian youth and college students plan to hand out New Testaments from May through September. They will receive training in how to share their faith and serve as effective witnesses for Christ.

“Just pray for Ukraine, pray for peace,” implored one Christian leader. “What is happening in Ukraine is like a sign from God of the urgency to share the Gospel. We will keep preaching.”

Pray that this upheaval can be used to share the hope of Christ. Pray that violence will not escalate.