Amid the most heightened tension between the East and West since the Cold War, Ukraine has been in the news since the fall of last year when the peaceful Euro-Maidan protests began in its capital Kyiv, which led to a bloody revolution with over 100 protesters killed and thousands injured. Eventually the Kremlin-backed criminal ex-President Victor Yanukovich fled to Russia and Oleksandr Turnchinov, a Baptist minister, became the interim President of Ukraine. This was amazing in itself, since a couple of decades ago the former Soviet Union claimed it would show the last Christians on TV, and they didn’t mean in Ukraine’s government! Russia’s President, former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, sent in troops and eventually annexed Ukrainian territory (Crimea) and now sponsors the invasion and war in South-Eastern Ukraine, where many Protestant believers have been killed and their Churches seized and targeted.
Many Russians have expressed hope in resurrecting a Russian empire, being influenced by the Kremlin’s propaganda war and Putin as a pseudo-Orthodox leader of Eurasia who claims moral superiority over the West due to it’s relativism, amorality (i.e. homosexuality), and questionable influence through foreign policy intervention. A 1994 treaty called the Budapest Memorandum complicates things a bit further. Under it Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons to Russia with “security assurances” from the US, Great Britain, and Russia to respect its territorial integrity, political independence, etc. Russia is clearly in violation, but what should the US and UK do about it? Do we have an obligation to protect Ukraine since our nation, in one sense, gave it’s word?
And what can individual Christians do to help those who are suffering and in need? Sacramento has a Slavic diaspora (community of immigrants mostly from Ukraine and Russia numbering roughly 70 -100 thousand). As the Slavic Community Association, we feel we have a special insight into and responsibility to speak about these issues. The testimony of the Gospel, persecuted Church, and truth are affected.
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