Churches, diplomats call for reconciliation

(Map courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

(Map courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Ukraine (MNN) — Today starts the search for a new Ukrainian president, with elections slated for May. Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was still on the run as of yesterday afternoon, and a societal divide remains between the country’s populations.

After a week of violent unrest, the UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague says “a spirit of reconciliation is vital,” now more than ever. That’s exactly what Slavic Gospel Association partners are trying to model in Kiev and beyond.

According to a recent update on SGA’s Web site, many evangelical churches have opened up their buildings to be used as field hospitals. Hundreds of people have been injured, and at least 77 people have been killed since violent outbursts began a week ago. Other believers are using the recent chaos as a springboard for Gospel conversations.

As noted in SGA’s update, the people of Ukraine are caught in an East-vs-West battle. Each party is suspicious of the other’s political leanings. While those living in western Ukraine generally favor an alliance with the European Union (EU), those in the east favor Soviet-era ties with Russia.

reconciliation

(Image courtesy SGA)

This national divide reflects the battle waging on a global scale. While the EU and U.S. impose sanctions and push for democratic reforms in Ukraine, Russia seems to hold the power card.

A long-time supporter of former president Yanukovych, Russian ruler Vladimir Putin was quick to send an envoy to Kiev for mediations. Russia’s UN ambassador reportedly spoke adamantly against Western influence in Ukraine in a recent tweet.

“Either they don’t understand the consequences of what they’re doing, or they’re engaged in a very provocative game of destabilizing Ukraine and therefore Eastern Europe,” Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said, as quoted by BBC.

Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (UECB) leaders in Ukraine are asking fellow believers around the world to keep praying for Ukraine.

“Pray for the families on all sides who have lost loved ones in the violence,” the update reads. “And above all, pray that God will grant many opportunities for evangelical churches to model the love of Christ and to share the Gospel.

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