Displaying items by tag: War
Over 2.5 million Ukrainians have now found refuge in Poland, and the number just keeps rising. Even on a rainy day, the border crossing is crowded with war-weary refugees searching for some relief. Denys, a 40-year-old single dad, fled Kharkiv after living in his basement for a month. He's been raising his son alone since his wife died 18 months ago. He arrived at the Operation Blessing tent cold, wet, and hungry, but left full and dry, with a new coat and a suitcase for his belongings. Nearby, a crying baby is now smiling and content after being rocked to sleep by a volunteer. The sounds of war gave Marina’s three young sons nightmares, so she fled leaving behind an older son and husband to defend her homeland. Oksana, Denys, and Marina are so thankful that Operation Blessing was there in their time of need to help and pray with them.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has sent 42 experts to probe alleged war crimes since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The team of investigators, forensic experts and support staff will improve the gathering of witness testimony and the identification of forensic materials, and help ensure that evidence is collected in a manner that strengthens its admissibility in future proceedings. The court is based in the Netherlands and a significant number of Dutch national experts will help the mission, working together with French forensic experts who are already in Ukraine. The work of all those involved in the conflict area must be effectively coordinated. The ICC prosecutor said alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity turned Ukraine into a crime scene just four days after the 24 February Russian invasion. In the first trial of its kind since the war began, a Russian soldier has admitted killing an elderly Ukrainian civilian. If convicted, he faces up to life imprisonment: see
Ukrainian military officials said on 7 May that they had sunk another Russian warship in the Black Sea. The ship was a craft designed to transport and deploy troops to the shore. The strike was executed with Turkish drones, which Ukraine has relied on during the war. Just weeks after the Russian flagship Moskva missile cruiser was hit by Ukraine’s missiles and sunk, this Russian warship was left burning in the Black Sea. A reliable naval source verified that a Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile struck the vessel, with a large number of Russian aircraft circling overhead. Russia’s fleet is shrinking. See also
Russia has removed forces from areas near Kyiv and is focusing on eastern Ukraine. The battle for Ukraine's old industrial heartland known as Donbas is likely to decide the fate of the Russian invasion. Pray for Ukraine and its allies to prevent Russia annexing Donbas and adjacent areas and claiming the territory as Putin did with Crimea in 2014. Russia’s attacks on the south have triggered a humanitarian catastrophe at the siege of Mariupol. Pray for Ukraine’s ‘best-trained forces’, already there due to the eight-year war with Russian separatists, to hold on to the land. Much of Donetsk and key areas of Luhansk are still in Ukrainian hands The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says if Ukraine holds on to Slovyansk, Russia's campaign to seize both regions ‘will likely fail’. We can ask God to enable this scenario.
The road to war for Elliott and Kieran ran through Facebook, a £20 Ryanair flight to Krakow in Poland, a cold night sleeping outside a railway station, then walking into Ukraine to join other recruits taking a minibus to Lviv. ‘I just can't sit at home and watch what's going on and carry on as usual,’ says CJ Darton, who served seven years with the Royal Anglian Regiment. When Russia invaded Ukraine he almost immediately began making plans to volunteer. ‘We were stopped by police on the way out,’ recounts Kieran, a plumber from Brighton. ‘They said “fair play to you”. As far as I'm aware we're not doing anything wrong.’ When they reach the front line they can either sign up with Ukraine's International Legion and stay for the duration of the war for the same pay as Ukrainian soldiers, or join other former British soldiers already fighting on the front line.
Vladimir Putin has told his French counterpart the shelling of the besieged city of Mariupol will only end when Ukrainian troops surrender. The key southern port city has been under heavy shelling for weeks. French officials said on 30 March that the Russian leader had agreed to consider plans to evacuate civilians from the city. They called the situation in the city ‘catastrophic’, adding that civilian populations must be protected and must leave the city if they wish. They must have access to food aid, water and medicine. France, Turkey, Greece and several humanitarian groups have presented Putin with a plan to evacuate the city. Officials said Putin told Emmanuel Macron that he will think about it. However after the talks with Ukraine the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, played down any hopes of a breakthrough. On 31 March Ukraine made another attempt to send aid and bring back evacuees.
Ukraine’s Christians are praying for God's protection, peace, and His will to be done, seeking Him in churches, bomb shelters, and homes. They are believing for miracles, healing and the supernatural presence of God to manifest itself powerfully throughout Ukraine. There is such faith being exercised, with crying out to God, as shown on videos, that some wonder if the presence and glory of God will become so pervasive that Russian soldiers will kneel down and repent on the battlefield, while Ukrainians extend grace, forgiveness and mercy, showing the love of Christ. In the midst of trial and war, the church is singing. It is standing against the wave of evil, bringing a standard of righteousness and holiness in the midst of calamity. Worship and prayer, spiritual warfare tools, are cutting through the darkness and joining brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide.
Up to 1,000 people – including priests and church leaders – were killed in recent attacks in Ethiopia. A Belgium-based nonprofit organisation released reports of 1,000 people hiding in an Orthodox church in Aksum, thought to contain the Ark of the Covenant. They were brought out and shot in the square. 750 were definitely murdered, and possibly more of the injured died later. Inside Ethiopia there is political conflict. The government’s term of office ended in September, and the May elections were cancelled due to coronavirus. This has created political unrest where Christians and Muslims are dying in a long line of fatal assaults against innocent people in the Tigray region. 154 were killed in December in Maryam Dengelat, and ten from one family were killed on Christmas Day. Also, Eritrean troops have been killing dozens.
Fighting continues despite an agreed ceasefire; the Red Cross reports ‘hundreds killed’ in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey and Israel are offering drone support and technologies. Azerbaijan wants to gain control of as much of its claimed territory as possible. Armenians have mobilised to stop it. The Red Cross reports indiscriminate shelling by both sides into towns and cities far from contested areas. On 21 October Russian bombers made a powerful air strike on a convoy and assembly point with Syrian mercenaries in Nagorno-Karabakh. However researchers found old video footage re-edited and wrongly labelled as portraying recent events. While the majority of online media is news reports, official government information or campaign slogans and images, there is doctored or old footage. Disinformation in conflicts is not uncommon, where accessing accurate information can prove difficult. Pray for peace in this part of the Caucasus: it’s a crisis entangling Russia, Turkey, Israel, Iran, and Azeri and Armenian diasporas.
Starvation is being intentionally used as a war tactic in South Sudan’s brutal conflict, a UN-backed human rights panel report stated. South Sudan gained independence in 2011 but descended into conflict 2½ years later, following tensions between President Salva Kiir and his deputy. Most South Sudanese are Christian, whereas the majority in Sudan belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. Religion deeply influences governance and daily life, playing a dominant role in the nation's politics. The brutal fighting has caused incalculable suffering to civilians, and resulted in staggering levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition. 7.5 million South Sudanese, in several areas, currently require humanitarian assistance. Both governments and opposition forces have deliberately used the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in these areas, sometimes as an instrument to punish non-aligning communities, as in the case of Jonglei.