Displaying items by tag: War

Thursday, 24 November 2022 21:21

Ukraine: gospel workers

In under two weeks, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine became a full-fledged humanitarian crisis. The turmoil is affecting gospel workers in Ukraine and throughout the region in significant ways. The Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) reports a sense of excitement. Kherson, a very important city to Ukrainians, is now accessible. Battlefields are constantly changing, with villages and cities burned to the ground. People are hiding in their basements: drones, missiles, and rockets are attacking their infrastructure, and they are bracing for a terrible winter. A new SGA initiative, Heat and Hope, will provide heating, blankets, and food to Ukrainians. They work through over 240 local churches across the embattled regions. They will not only be centres of warmth when all else has been destroyed, but centres of hope. In the middle of a bitter cold winter, these churches are proclaiming the hope and love of Jesus.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 17 November 2022 21:18

Ukraine / Russia: grain Initiative

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, a major exporter of grain, led to the blocking of all grain shipments until an agreement called the Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed in Istanbul between Ukraine, Russia and the UN. This agreement will expire on 19 November unless renewed. Renewal negotiations were being facilitated by the UN throughout October until the 29th, when a drone attack on Russian naval ships prompted Russia to suspend participation. Talks resumed on 2 November, with hopes to extend the agreement for a year. On 17 November Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure said the initiative would be prolonged, but only for 120 days.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 10 November 2022 21:53

Ukraine: Russia withdrawing from Kherson

Russia has ordered its military to pull out of Kherson, the only regional capital it has captured since invading Ukraine. Russia will entirely leave the western bank of Dnipro River, saying it wasn’t possible to continue supplying the city. Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky said his country is moving ‘very carefully’ in response to the announcement, fearing a Russian trap.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 10 November 2022 21:47

Ukraine: survivors’ agony as mass graves found

1,500+ new graves have been dug at a mass burial site near Mariupol in Ukraine. Over 4,600 graves have been dug there since the beginning of the war. Officials believe at least 25,000 people were killed in fighting there, and 5,000-7,000 died after their homes were bombed. Witnesses have seen Russian authorities removing bodies from destroyed buildings and taking them away for burial, over 1,500 according to new satellite images. From the start of the war Mariupol, a strategic target, was pounded relentlessly from the air and from the ground. Pray for the thousands of survivors who have now escaped the city, but do not know where their families’ bodies are. Pray for those unable to get that information, and pray for those who suspect their loved ones are still buried beneath the rubble of their houses.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 20 October 2022 23:20

Russia: violating UN sanctions with Iranian drones

The Americans, French, and British agree that ‘kamikaze’ drones unleashed by Russia into Ukraine were made in Iran and violate a UN security council resolution barring Iranian transfers of certain military technologies. Ukraine has identified the drones - or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - as Iranian Shahed-136 weapons, called kamikaze drones after the Japanese fighter pilots who flew suicide missions in World War Two. Iran denies supplying weapons to Russia, but the USA said, ‘Russia's plan is to import hundreds of Iranian UAVs of various types. There is extensive proof of Russia using them in Ukraine. The deepening alliance between Russia and Iran is something the whole world should see as a threat. Russia and Iran provided key military support for President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war.’ The EU's foreign policy chief said it is ‘gathering evidence’ on the Iranian drones and is ready to act - implying intensification of sanctions.

Published in Europe

Russians are closing evangelical Protestant churches claiming ‘only one faith would be tolerated - Orthodoxy’. They raided Grace Baptist Church while a worship service was being broadcast live. Viewers watched online while they halted the service, registered the names of all present, detained several ministers, and gave the pastor 48 hours to leave the city. They closed Melitopol’s largest Protestant charismatic church with a 1,000-seat auditorium. They tore down its cross and turned the building into a ‘cultural sports entertainment complex’. They are doing the same as they did when they seized and annexed Crimea: they raided places of worship, closed churches, banned missionary activity, fined people for leading worship meetings, seized religious literature, and forced religious communities to re-register with the state, refusing re-registration to the majority. Christians were also driven to the underground churches in the Soviet era, surviving seventy years of Soviet totalitarian rule - demonstrating that persecution can often strengthen the Church.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 13 October 2022 20:31

Ukraine: heavy shelling and NATO aid

On 10 October Russian troops began launching a daily series of missile strikes, targeting civilians and energy facilities in populated regions to kill and create chaos. President Volodymyr Zelensky said, ‘They want to destroy our energy system. They are incorrigible. The second target is people. Such a time and such goals were specially chosen to cause as much damage as possible. We are dealing with terrorists trying to wipe us off the face of the earth.’  On 13 October Ukraine’s allies from fifty countries meeting at NATO headquarters announced deliveries to Kyiv of advanced air defence weapons, including missiles and radars. The USA earlier made a similar pledge. One high-tech system from Germany is already in Ukraine. Kyiv hailed the summit as ‘historic’. Hours later, while people slept, Russian shelling hit a five-storey residential building in Mykolaiv, destroying the upper two floors.

Published in Europe
Friday, 07 October 2022 10:51

Ukrainians who don’t flee

Not all Ukrainians desire to start a new life abroad. There are tens of thousands of Eastern Ukrainians in refugee camps, schools, kindergartens or government buildings, hoping they will be able to return home once the war is over. They refuse to think that there will be no homes to return to. These refugee camps are everywhere in Transcarpathia (in the far west of Ukraine) which, at the moment, is a place of safety. The Carpathian Mountains separate them from Putin’s bombs. Pray for the safety of the brave Europeans visiting refugee locations with food, clothes and household needs.

Published in Europe
Friday, 07 October 2022 10:48

Russia: Putin ridiculed by powerful allies

The withdrawal of Russian troops from important Ukraine towns has prompted two powerful Putin allies publicly to ridicule the war machine's top brass. Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov said, ‘Nepotism in the army will lead to no good. The commander of Russian forces should be stripped of his medals and sent to the front line with a gun to wash away his shame with blood.’ Such public contempt for those running Russia's war indicates the growing level of frustration among Putin’s elite with his war tactics. The powerful mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin congratulated Ramzan’s comments, saying, ‘Ramzan - you rock man! All these ******** should be sent barefoot to the front with automatic guns.’

Published in Europe
Thursday, 22 September 2022 22:53

Britons held by Russians released

Five British nationals captured by Russian-backed forces in Ukraine have returned to the UK. Aiden Aslin, John Harding, Dylan Healy, Andrew Hill, and Shaun Pinner have been reunited with their families after landing at Heathrow Airport. Ten detainees, including the five Britons, were released after Saudi Arabia brokered an exchange between Russia and Ukraine. The Praesidium Network confirmed the five men are now safely home. Mr Pinner's sister Cassandra told the BBC: ‘We are just so happy he's home, safe and sound. He's in good spirits - just as funny as always!’ She thanked those involved in organising his return and said she was ‘just amazed this day has come’. In a video recorded on the plane, Mr Pinner said they had escaped ‘by the skin of our teeth’.

Published in Praise Reports
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