This report is produced by EBF Communications in collaboration with Baptist partners.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports 9,983 civilian casualties in the country: 4,452 killed and 5,531 injured, as of 14 June. OHCHR believes that the actual figures are likely to be much higher, as data from the worst-hit areas are still being verified.
According to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) as of June 14, more than 7.5 million people have fled Ukraine; the vast majority of these are women, children and the elderly. This doesn’t include the additional 7 million displaced people within Ukraine. Over 5 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe. This has pushed global statistics of displaced people over the grim 100 million mark.
Updates from Baptists in Ukraine
The Ukrainian Baptist Union Coordination Centre continues to distribute aid across Ukraine, despite missiles falling in the areas surrounding Lviv. In a May 21 report, the staff wrote, "The nature of the multi-faceted ministry of our churches today resembles the work of emergency service. The Baptist Union is trying to respond to challenges that are constantly changing. We are focused on the practical manifestation of Christ's love and the effectiveness of the Gospel."
In Russian-occupied areas, the reports are difficult. The civilian population is terrorised and often deprived of the opportunity to leave for the Ukrainian-controlled territories. As water supply lines have been cut off in numerous towns across occupied and besieged areas, churches are stepping in and drawing from church wells to distribute water to their communities. In Mykolayiv, the local church is beginning to drill a new well to provide for the community.
Lysychansk, a small town in the Luhansk Oblast of Ukraine, is one example of the many communities isolated by the war where there is no electricity, water, communications, medicines, or food. Regional pastors are trying to keep in contact with churches in such communities and visit when possible to ensure they are not forgotten and feel abandoned.
Dozens of churches have held baptism services over the past weeks and the war has not quelled the evangelical fervour of Baptists in Ukraine. Many are beginning to see their communities shift their view of local churches, especially as churches tirelessly provide aid and practical support. A church hosted a first aid training course and noted, "People are beginning to see more and more that Christians are not freaks united by a certain fanatical idea, but it is truly people who practise the things they teach."
At least two more churches have been destroyed by shelling.
Baptist Response in Neighbouring Countries
Poland — Polish Baptists are adjusting to the challenges and joys that come with so many guests still remaining. Three new Ukrainian churches have been planted and the largest Baptist church in Poland is now a Ukrainian congregation in Warsaw. Baptists continue to host hundreds, serve thousands and send aid back to Ukraine.
Hungary — Baptists in Hungary in conjunction with the Hungarian Baptist Aid are continuing to address aid needs in Ukraine (already delivering 200 metric tonnes) while simultaneously addressing the needs of refugees in Hungary. Already they see the challenges of the impending global food shortage as a result of the war. Many churches run Ukrainian translation during their services and a few new Ukrainian churches have formed.
Romania — Churches across Romania continue to provide practical and spiritual support to refugees, as well as send humanitarian supplies into Ukraine. Dozens are now running their normal services with dual translation into Ukrainian. Churches are incorporating refugees and their children into normal life, celebrating the 17th birthday of one Ukrainian teen and using leisure activities, like afternoons at a local pool, as an opportunity to connect with families and let them rest. Many refugees are looking to move onward from Romania to other countries.
Moldova — Baptists in Moldova continue to run a shelter for refugees in need. Supply chain issues and limited supplies because of the war make getting materials difficult, like bedding for the centre and a reliable vehicle to transfer materials and refugees from one place to another.
Slovakia — Many refugees have decided to cross back into the western regions of Ukraine, but at least 75,000 remain in Slovakia. Baptists are looking at the ways to best care for the traumatised and meet the psychological needs of single parents with kids who are displaced from their homes.
Across the EBF — Baptists across the EBF region continue to help in tangible ways, sharing the hospitality of Christ. Spain, Portugal, the UK, Germany, Austria, Czechia, Bulgaria, Italy and many other contexts have given generously and are housing refugees with church families.
Please see past reports for how other Baptist Unions are responding. If your Union is responding to the crisis, please let us know so that we can include your response in future updates.
EBF continues to distribute funding for projects in and around Ukraine while looking to address network-level issues.
Ukrainian Baptists said in a recent report, “God keeps Ukraine by his mercy. God blesses Ukraine with your prayers and your help. We sincerely thank all our brothers and sisters, friends and partners.” EBF will continue to host monthly prayer calls on the last Wednesday of the month via Zoom at 19:00 CET (18:00 UK time). The next will be on 29 June 2022. You can use the same registration link.
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