Updated 2145 on 12th
In part 1 I mentioned that a woman was moving to the western Ukrainian city I’m visiting to flee the fighting in Luhansk. Today I learned that there are many thousands like her.
In conversations here, I’ve heard that the “official” number of displaced persons in western Ukraine tops 30,000. These are people who have reported to officials that they have fled the violence and are seeking the Ukrainian government’s help in getting resettled. But, I’m told there are many more. (Last I heard, there are over 95000 (correction) who fled east to Russia and are in tents just across the border, Russia reports 500,000 but this is likely part of the Russian info war.)
However, if you have family or friends in western Ukraine, you just go. Some estimate that there are well over 100,000 people waiting out the violence here in the western part of the country.
I’ve learned that there are other atrocities not being reported. Protestants (any group that is non Orthodox) are being persecuted by the pro-Russian extremists. I was told of a Pentecostal bishop who was kidnapped, and then escaped a week later. I was surprised to learn that three Charismatic churches were seriously damaged by pro-Russian insurgents and are now in a state of disuse in one large eastern city.
Church leaders here in western Ukraine get calls almost daily from leaders in the east who are looking for accommodation for people who wish to flee the violence. One former shelter for abandoned children is housing 28 refugees.
When I asked another leader how the church was impacted by these events, he echoed the first, it has made us more fervent prayers. “But”, he continued, we are opening our towns, facilities and homes to these refugees.” This is what Jesus told us.