Another breaking point for Ukraine

By November 5, 2015
(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Ukraine (MNN) — There may be a ceasefire in effect in Ukraine…but there’s still shooting and shelling all the time.

Two months ago, the latest ceasefire was signed between the pro-Russian Separatists and Ukrainian army. While a multitude of ceasefires have been broken in the crisis, this one appeared to be different, with the rate of civilian deaths decreasing by 55%, according to the United Nations. In fact, hopes soared when September 11 passed with nary an explosion or shot fired.

By November 1, that optimism was dashed as 114 explosions were reported by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. On the same day, Kiev and pro-Russian separatists accused each other of attacks at the former Donetsk airport. A day later, five Ukrainians were wounded in Donbas.

Kyiv Post reports Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, presidential spokesman for affairs in the war zone, blamed separatists for firing first on Avdiivka and Pisky, after which Ukrainian soldiers were given permission to return fire.

During the roller coaster violence over the last year and a half, stores and businesses have been forced to close their doors. This is adding to the lack of supplies and a spike on prices. Valeriia Hontareva, Ukraine’s National Bank Chief, says the inflation surge could go as high as 46%. An example of how this is beginning to bite: according to the current exchange rates, the average monthly wage is UAH1400 (roughly $60.75USD) or UAH350 (roughly $15 USD) a week. A loaf of bread can cost between UAH50 ($2.17USD) and UAH100 ($4.34 USD).

“Where food is available, prices have kind of just skyrocketed,” says Amie Cotton with Christian Aid. “So all of this has led to an increase in crime. You’ve got that going on in addition to the struggle with the pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army.”

Christian Aid is partnering with nine indigenous Ukrainian ministries who are helping the hundreds of thousands of people displaced or forced to stay inside days at a time. “Even though prices have skyrocketed in some areas, because these ministries are indigenous and they know the cities and the towns and the routes for transportation to get through trek points, they can get to supplies and get them at a lower cost.”

Ministry partners are going to the frontlines to seek out and provide for civilians. In doing it, they’re taking the chance to share the hope and faith of Jesus. “Many Ukrainians are so open to the Gospel right now. They’re seeking the Lord for wisdom,” Cotton says.

Receptiveness to the Gospel is spreading from the east to the west. Christian Aid Mission partners are also assisting orphanages in Central and Western Ukraine where many IDPs have fled. Orphanages have been giving rooms to families, and ministry workers have been able to help with provisions and sharing the Word. Most families know there’s no chance of going back home, but they’re taking the encouragement and supplies to find work and start new lives.

You can be a partner with Christian Aid Mission by giving to Ukrainian IDPs. Also pray for safety and trust in Christ.

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