Ukraine (MNN) — Tensions remain high in Ukraine, where Western powers fear a Russian invasion. Russia has built up thousands of soldiers near the border since November of last year. In turn, Western nations have sent weapons to Ukraine as well.
But Eric Mock with the Slavic Gospel Association says it’s important to remember that Russia and Ukraine have been at war for years. He has visited the warzone in Eastern Ukraine many times. “They are the ones that are suffering. They’re the ones that are telling the stories of being caught up in machine-gun fire. They’re telling stories of artillery fire. If you drive through their streets, you see the pockmarks from not only the machine-gun fire but also the shrapnel from the artillery.”
“And so the people live in this constant state of fear already.”
Most of the people who live in this region are elderly, often with no family to help them. They don’t have the option to simply pick up their lives and leave.
Mock describes what it was like when the conflict first began. “They’ll tell stories of family members who were literally walking down the street and dropped dead because of a bullet flying through the air. At the time, tanks were rolling up into these villages. One lady told a story of she and her family hiding in the basement while a tank actually drove through their house and parked over the top of them, using the ruined house as a base to fire shells towards the enemy. They could hear the percussion that went on for hours and hours.”
An invasion would likely move through this region first. But Mock says faithful churches in the warzone continue to show the love of Jesus. “Many of the churches emptied out in 2014 and 2015, with the original round of fighting. All these churches are full again with new believers. And so we pray that if hardship does come, that many lives will come to faith.”
Pray for peace in Ukraine, Russia, and the whole surrounding region. Ask God to strengthen the local churches during a tense and difficult time.
The header photo shows U.S. munitions before delivery to Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Mauricio Campino, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)