Ukraine crisis deepens as Russia moves troops over border

(Photo courtesy Flickr/CC/DayBlakelyDonaldson)

(Photo courtesy Flickr/CC/DayBlakelyDonaldson)

Ukraine (MNN) — Ukraine’s been hollering about it for days. Even with a peace agreement signed recently, final peace is uncertain. Now, Joel Griffith with Slavic Gospel Association explains, “You had these allegations being made earlier from the Ukrainian end, but NATO said that they saw no evidence of this. A day or two later after saying that, now we have NATO saying that they’ve seen military equipment and combat troops that are marked, that are crossing over the border.”

Russia downplayed the threat even as The United Nations Security Council convened for an emergency meeting on November 12. Whatever the intent, Griffith says, “From our perspective, it certainly is going to ratchet up the tensions right at a time when we were praying that they were going to lessen.”

At the same time, there’s been a spike in Russian military flights over the Black, Baltic, and North Seas, as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Ukraine’s defense minister says their forces are preparing for a possible new offensive by pro-Russian separatist rebels. People are scattering. “In addition to what’s been going on in Ukraine, and the refugee crisis there, there have been actually some Ukrainian refugees that have crossed into Russia, and the churches are also helping there.”

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association)

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association)

Cities and towns in the east sustained heavy damage from the violent battles that have raged between Ukraine and pro-Separatist forces. Refugees fleeing from the violence have flooded into other parts of Ukraine. Griffith says, “Right now, within Ukraine, we’re going to keep helping the churches through the Crisis Evangelism Fund the best that we’re able to do, providing not only food parcels for the refugee families, but also things like bed linens, mattresses, winter clothing, with winter coming on.”

What it means is long-term care through the winter months for the survivors. Between military tension and the plummeting temperatures, people can’t go home to rebuild their lives. $15 can help provide a food pack, which contains items such as flour, cooking oil, pasta, and other staples plus Christian literature.

A gift of $56 will help provide warm clothing such as warm socks, scarves, sweaters, and jackets to the most needy individuals and families–many of whom fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs. Larger gifts can provide other items like mattresses, pillows, and bed linens, plus Bibles and evangelistic literature.

Despair has been a constant in the refugee areas. But SGA’s partners are trying to bring hope. “The churches want to reach out with the humanitarian need, but, of course, the solution to armed conflict and hostility is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what the churches want to proclaim more than anything else.”

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association)

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association)

Churches in strategic locations serve as staging venues. They are asking for assistance, and SGA needs your help to make it happen. “Pray that the resources would come in that would enable us to be able to increase our help to the churches as they try to deal with the situation on the ground.”

Remember, church leaders are literally on the front lines. “Pastors and their churches that are in these regions: if military conflict increases, that places them in very direct danger.”

If you would like to help, click here: www.sga.org/donate.