The report is produced by EBF Communications in collaboration with Baptist partners.
At least 376 civilian casualties have been confirmed, including 94 deaths, by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) before midnight 26 February. The actual figure could be considerably higher as many reported casualties have yet to be confirmed.
At least 368,000 people have already crossed into neighbouring countries, fleeing the ongoing hostilities, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as of 07:30 (CET) on 27 February.
Baptist Response in Ukraine
The Ukrainian Baptist Union has safely moved their offices from Kyiv to Lviv. They have a team actively responding to the crisis, with coordinators across the country. They are beginning to assess the needs and respond accordingly.
Churches across the country have been set up as refuge centres to house people overnight as they flee. Churches in the east are connected with churches in the west that can receive families that are fleeing. There are 5-6 logistics centres to distribute food and aid as needed.
The situation however is extremely volatile and will continue to rapidly change over the coming days. For now, it is still possible to purchase some goods in many parts of the country, but shortages will come. EBF is in frequent contact with Baptist leaders as they share their needs.
Though the Ukrainian brothers and sisters are shaken, they are resolute that God will reveal His glory in all things. They have peace despite the situation and are faithfully shining the light of Christ in the darkness.
Baptist Response in Neighbouring Countries
Poland — Poland has seen the largest influx of those fleeing, with over 150,000 people crossing the border in the last 5 days. Polish Baptists are actively responding to the crisis and have a team managing the response. Churches on the border have turned into shelters for people to temporarily stay. One church with a capacity for 50 people had 140 people staying over the weekend, some sleeping on pews. Volunteers are working around the clock to clean bedsheets, provide food, and check in new people who are coming in. The coordinating team is beginning to connect people with churches all over Poland where they can stay. Mostly women and children are crossing the border, as men over 18 are required to stay in Ukraine due to martial law. One border guard has even begun to refer those without family members to go directly to the nearest Baptist church.
Slovakia — There are fewer reports of refugees coming across the border to Slovakia, however, the Baptist Union has a humanitarian ministry team working with the 26 churches closest to the border. These churches have the capacity to care for 300 people and are in contact with church leaders across the border in Ukraine.
Hungary — Both Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid) and Hungarian churches are responding to the crisis. HBAid is working both across the border in Ukraine and within Hungary to provide aid to those fleeing. Currently, HBAid is mobilising to get shipments of supplies into Ukraine for the Ukrainian Baptists to distribute. Churches in Hungary are also receiving refugees and are giving generously to support the effort.
Romania — Churches on the border are actively involved. There are many churches across the border in Ukraine that have close ties with Romanian Baptists churches and so the Union is collaborating closely with them. Already each church in the border region had double the number of refugees that they had capacity for. Most of the people they are serving have brought nothing with them and so need food, clothing, and hygiene items. The Union is responding and bringing together churches across the country to support.
Latvia and Lithuania — Baptists in the north are mobilised and ready to receive refugees and have organised transit for refugees to go north from Poland into Latvia and Lithuania.
Belarus and Russia — Belarus is struggling as many young people try to flee the country to avoid conscription into the war efforts. Russian Baptists are mobilising to help refugees that have fled across the Russian border. The international sanctions are beginning to have an impact on our Russian and Belarussian brothers and sisters.
We recognise that there are likely many other countries involved. If your union is responding to the crisis, please let us know so that we can include your response in future updates.
EBF is the lead partner of the Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD) response. The core team consisting of Alan Donaldson (member body leadership care / pastoral support / prayer), Helle Liht (overall coordination / EBF funding), Rachel Conway-Doel (BMS World Mission / programming), Will Cumbia ( EBF- Ukraine response communication / border countries response), Marsha Scipio (BFAD funding / communication). The core team meets daily to coordinate the response as things are rapidly evolving.
Alan Donaldson, EBF General Secretary is visiting Poland from the 1st to the 3rd of March.
EBF will gather weekly on Wednesday during the month of March to pray for the situation. The first prayer gathering will be on the 2nd of March (19:00 CET). Registration is here.
For further information and stories, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For all other details contact:
Will Cumbia, Coordinator for Migration Issues, at email@example.com
Tim Solwoong Kim, Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org +47 484 96 884
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