Pray for Ukraine!

Pray for Ukraine!

Pavel Unguryan, International Missions Department Director with Ukrainian Baptists - February 19, 2014

On Tuesday after fragile truce Ukraine’s capital saw the deadliest wave of violence and clashes between the protesters and riot police since the late November 2013. The angry protesters accusing the President of once again ignoring their demands started to force out the police units from the government block which turned into a clash. The demonstrators used stones and firebombs while the police responded with stun grenades.

The huge plumes of smoke from burning tires, vehicles and tear gas engulfed the city and reminded of a war zone followed by explosions and shouts "Glory to Ukraine!". Police were trying to extinguish the fire with two water cannons but the protesters responded by hurling petrol bombs and setting police trucks blocking their way on fire. At least 25 people were reported killed and hundreds injured on both sides as a result of severe clashes and street fighting around the parliament building.

By the evening the riot police have pushed back the protesters to the Independence Square commonly called as Maidan. The police announced over the loudspeakers that an "anti-terrorist" operation was underway and urged demonstrators to leave the square. After midnight people were arriving from all over Ukraine to defend the Maidan which has been the heart of the protests. People had been fighting back with rocks, bats and fire bombs for 10 hours and saved their island of freedom. The highways to Kiev have been blocked and thus the traffic in Kiev got paralyzed.

The wave of protests has rapidly spread to several regions of Ukraine where demonstrators have taken over the control of the regional administration, law enforcement and other municipal buildings and surrounded them with huge barricades.

Our Ukrainian Baptist headquarters in Kiev are now using churches in Kiev as infirmary for injured and sick. The Christian doctors take turns and help those who need medical care. In fear for their lives the wounded and injured protesters refuse to admit themselves in the hospitals which already have no room and thus seek help in other places. The headquarters of the Baptist Union decided that in case of necessity and lack of room in the churches will also open up the doors for examination and treatment of patients. We see it as an opportunity to witness of our love to Jesus and our neighbor.

Ukraine is at the critical turning point and we realize that only God can prevent Ukraine from sinking in blood. We urge you to lift up prayers to the Lord in this crucial time for Ukraine’s future. May God help both parties to stop the escalation of violence and find a solution through negotiations and reconciliation.