In the early hours of the morning on February 24, the Russian Federation invaded the nation of Ukraine.
If you’ve turned on a news channel over the past 24 hours, you’ve undoubtedly seen endless videos of Russian helicopters, fighter jets, troop carriers and tanks attacking Ukraine. Russian forces have begun a full-scale assault on Ukraine by air, land and sea.
Confirmed by Ukrainian authorities. A large air assault operation with Mi-8 helicopters on Antonov International Airport in Hostomel. Interior Ministry says Russia has seized control. Very dangerous; it’s just 15 minutes west of the capital ring road. pic.twitter.com/JhlyVktVRC
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 24, 2022
One senior U.S. defense official has disclosed that Russia has launched “in total more than 160 missiles for airstrikes” on Ukraine.
According to Ukraine’s health minister Viktor Lyashko, 57 Ukrainians have been killed as a result of the conflict, and 169 more have been wounded.
While Ukraine has the largest standing army on the continent of Europe, at 245,000 personnel, it is dwarfed by the Russian Armed Forces’ 1,014,000 personnel.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces’ $6 billion annual budget is also overshadowed by Russia’s $61.7 billion annual allotment.
Political leaders from around the world have unequivocally and universally condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told The Daily Citizen that any “Praise and support for Vladimir Putin and Russia’s military invasion by current and former leaders of our nation is shameful.”
“The actions of Putin should be condemned, and we should lead the effort to isolate Russia from any economic and other engagements with the free nations of the world until they withdraw their troops and efforts to gain control of Ukraine,” Coats added.
Additionally, religious leaders around the world have urged the faithful to pray for a quick resolution to the crisis.
Pope Francis has appealed to those “with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war, who is the Father of all, not just of some, who wants us to be brothers and not enemies.”
The pope also invited believers to make Ash Wednesday (March 2) a day of fasting and prayer for peace.
Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, wrote a post on Facebook urging believers to “pray for the people of Ukraine and for this conflict to end quickly.”
“Samaritan’s Purse works with over 3,000 churches across Ukraine, and we are in the process of distributing over 600,000 gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for children through those churches and ministry partners,” Graham added.
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly wrote a stirring blog post, emphasizing that we all “must pray for peace, and for the protection and safety of the many innocent people caught in the crosshairs.”
“Thirty years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to eastern Europe as freedom came to the former Soviet Union.
“The politics and the power struggles may be layered and complicated, but the hearts and minds of the vast majority of those living in those areas bend towards freedom. I have seen firsthand and spoken with many Russians who despised the totalitarianism and wickedness of their country’s leadership. They have a hunger for truth and a contagious receptivity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Daly reflected.
It’s nearly certain that the war in Ukraine will cause a humanitarian crisis, as Ukrainians flee the nation.
According to the United Nations, 100,000 Ukrainians have already fled their homes, with several thousand leaving the nation entirely, crossing into Moldova and Romania.
United Nation’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently said that in response to the growing crisis, the U.N. is providing $20 million in humanitarian aid to the embattled country.
And World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus has announced that the WHO is spending $3.5 million to buy and deliver medical supplies to the nation.
For the average Christian in America, the crisis in Ukraine can feel far off and distant.
But as Christians, we are called to pray and offer intercessions “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2).
Here are three things you can do.
- Please pray. Pray for wisdom for all world leaders who have a part in resolving the conflict. Pray for the Ukrainian citizens whose lives have been disrupted and endangered by the war. And pray that peace will soon be restored to the region.
- Consider donating to parachurch ministries and reputable organizations that provide humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine, and Ukrainians who are fleeing the country.
- Stay informed. Become knowledgeable about the ongoing conflict, and ponder what it must be like to be a Ukrainian citizen today.
Photo from Reuters.