Displaying items by tag: Ukraine
After President Zelensky told NATO he wants the war to finish ‘before winter sets in’, the UK pledged an additional £1bn of military aid to Ukraine. This brings UK military aid to £2.3bn plus £1.5bn spent in humanitarian and economic support. (Ukraine’s monthly defence cost is £4.12bn). The new £1bn comes from departmental underspends plus £95 million from Welsh and Scottish government budgets. Questions remain about whether the aid will be sufficient. Also, the Defence Secretary wants the government to increase spending on UK armed forces - to be prepared to invest more to keep people safe. Army personnel are being cut from 82,000 to 73,000 soldiers after 2021’s defence review. The new head of the armed forces said he had never known such a clear threat ‘as the brutal aggression of President Putin’. He likened the Ukraine war to the build up to World War Two.
The International Justice Mission (IJM) reminds us that the Ukraine conflict has displaced millions of women and children across Europe who are now running out of savings and resources, making them vulnerable to false work offers or accommodation from traffickers. The UN warns that Ukraine’s war is turning into a ‘human trafficking crises’. We need to cry out to God for women and children’s protection, that they would find safe housing and a stable income, to avoid accepting offers from traffickers. Please pray that they would know God's peace and comfort at this time of great difficulty. Pray for the expansion of IJM's anti-trafficking work in Europe. Ukraine’s refugee crisis means they urgently need to expand their anti-trafficking work into more European countries to reach and protect more vulnerable people. Pray for more local churches and European communities to accept and help refugees and may God mightily bless those volunteers already welcoming Ukrainians into their communities.
Ukraine: Zelensky urges G7 ‘help us win by year end’
NATO is increasing the troops available to its response force from the current 40,000 and will strengthen forward defences. The military alliance's secretary-general said, ‘We will enhance our battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance, up to brigade levels. We will transform the NATO response force and increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000.’ He describes Russia as the most significant and direct threat to the alliance's security and values and the NATO response to the invasion of Ukraine as the biggest overhaul of its collective defence and deterrence since the Cold War. Meanwhile, British troops are training Ukrainian soldiers on multiple-launch rocket systems and light guns on Salisbury Plain. A Royal Artillery trainer said it was a privilege to train the Ukrainians, they are professional rocket artillerymen. Their motivation to be quick and to learn is incredible. They don’t take many breaks. They are here to learn and are keen to return to Ukraine ‘as soon as possible’.
Vladimir Putin's admiration for Peter the Great is well known, but he now has ideas of ‘Great’-ness himself as he openly compared himself to the 18th-century tsar. He is equating Russia's invasion of Ukraine with Peter's expansionist wars three centuries ago, thereby acknowledging that his own war is a land grab. Putin's empire-building ambitions have irked his neighbours; Estonia has called his comments ‘completely unacceptable.’ Putin said he sees a new battle for geopolitical dominance, and that Peter the Great was his role model. ‘You might think he was fighting with Sweden, seizing their lands’, Putin said, referring to the northern wars which Peter launched to forge a new empire. ‘But he seized nothing; he reclaimed it. It has fallen to us, too, to reclaim and strengthen.’
A Kentish dog trainer, a Cornish farmer, and a Sussex executive are helping the elderly and frail to evacuate from dangerous areas in Ukraine. They fund themselves. ‘I know my parents worry’, said the dog trainer, ‘but they are proud of what I do.’ She has done a trauma first aid course, and is learning on the job. They travel to communities in the path of Russian forces. Shelling is a constant threat. Pray for God’s protection and strength to all who are helping the helpless in Ukraine. In April Russians captured Aiden and Shaun, Britons serving with Ukraine’s military. Russia’s foreign ministry said, ‘Don't worry, Russia is taking care of them’. Then on 9 June a court (not internationally recognised) in an area held by pro-Russian separatists sentenced them to death on the charge of being mercenaries. The men insist they have been in Ukraine since 2018, serving with Ukraine's military and entitled to prisoner-of-war protection. A Moroccan national was also condemned.
The story of this war cannot yet be written, but we can pray about possible scenarios. One would be Russia and Ukraine grinding each other down with neither demonstrating capacity to land a tactically decisive blow. Pray the West will supply Ukraine with all that is needed to overcome Putin. Another could be Putin announcing a ceasefire, pocketing his territorial gains and declaring ‘victory’ with a land corridor to Crimea established. This might change the narrative but not end the fighting. Pray for God’s wisdom to saturate Ukraine’s leaders so that a theoretical peace is avoided, and for US, UK and European policymakers to ensure Russia's invasion fails, for the sake of Ukraine and the international order. Pray for Ukraine’s victory using its new long-range rockets. Pray that it can retrieve territory where Russian supply lines are stretched, causing the troops to withdraw to where they were before the invasion, as Western sanctions hit Russia's war machine.
Ukrainians fleeing to neighbouring countries, looking for peace from conflict, are finding that their lives have changed drastically. They face new questions: where to live? how to make a living? They are struggling with language barriers and uncertainty about the safety of their loved ones still in Ukraine. They had been owners of homes and financially independent: now they are alone in a foreign country that is not their home. Father, please bring healing and restoration to those with vivid memories of death and destruction. Give peace of mind to those now suffering strife and fear. May they quickly settle into their new environments and have a sense of belonging. Father, please care for those whose life seems out of control; may they find a sure foundation in you. Give the disillusioned hope in a future and by Your Spirit draw near to those who are living with sorrow and uncertainty. Release Your comfort into shattered lives.
Fears of a global food crisis are swelling as Russian attacks on Ukraine’s ability to produce and export grain have choked off one of the world’s breadbaskets, fuelling charges that President Putin is using food as a powerful new weapon in his three-month-old war. On 24 May world leaders called for international action to deliver twenty million tons of grain now trapped in Ukraine, predicting that the alternative could be hunger in some countries and political unrest in others, in what could be the gravest global repercussion yet of Russia’s assault on its neighbour. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where worries about the war’s consequences have eclipsed almost every other issue, speakers reached for apocalyptic language to describe the threat. 'It’s a perfect storm within a perfect storm,' said David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Programme. Calling the situation 'absolutely critical,' he warned, 'We will have famines around the world.'
More than 14 million people are thought to have fled their homes since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the UN says. More than six million have left for neighbouring countries, while eight million people are displaced inside the war-torn country itself. The EU has granted Ukrainians the right to stay and work throughout its 27 member nations for up to three years. The UN says that as of 24 May, 2.1 million Ukrainians have returned to Ukraine. Some are returning to areas such as the capital Kyiv, which is now considered safer. Kyiv's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, says the city's population is back to two-thirds of its pre-war level.' More than 60,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK, after fleeing the Russian invasion. Some have travelled on family visas, while others have come via a sponsorship scheme which lets unrelated people host an individual or group.
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