The war between Russia and Ukraine continues on with severe ferocity. Little has come from attempted negotiations barring an agreement to secure safety for grain transport from the port of Odessa. An agreement that was broken by the Russians on the day after it was ratified, when they targeted the port with missiles (click here). An act which questions Russia’s credibility and commitment to the agreement that had been brokered by the UN and Turkey. Since that attack however no further attacks have been made and grain exports are being made to help reduce the global grain crises that has impacted significantly in some African and Asian Nations. President Zelenskyy of Ukraine has even permitted travel for sailors to ensure recruitment for merchant vessels is sufficient to meet demand. Previously no males were permitted to leave the country.
The New York Times estimates that 45,000 Russian troops have already perished in this war whereas 9000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed as a consequence of the war. Though figures of up to 80,000 Russian troops having left the field of war being estimated by British Defence Minister Ben Wallace, including deaths, Injuries and dissertions. Civilian deaths in Ukraine have been estimated at 5587 by the UN but they say the figures could in reality be much higher.
Fears about a global nuclear crises based on several power outages at the Zaporizhzhia plant — Europe’s largest nuclear facility have now been eased, after power was returned. Staff had to initially vacate the plant on Thursday 25th August, which is currently occupied by Russian soldiers till power resumed on Friday 26th August. Ukraine is already known for the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster which is the worst ever recorded atomic accident. President Zelenskyy has repeated calls for an international team to visit and inspect the plant and is seeking withdrawal of Russian troops.
Despite the huge human capital loss and threat of a nuclear disaster the war shows no signs of dissipating. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told France’s LCI television, that ‘[Ukraine] renouncing its participation in the North Atlantic alliance is now vital, but it is already insufficient in order to establish peace,”
The Russians continue to state that they are pursuing the war to denazify Ukraine, which has been their pretext for the war from the outset.
The war is soon going to enter the winter months and Ukraine in bracing itself for a colder winter than in previous years with temperatures up to 4 degrees colder than normal. The people of Ukraine will need our support and prayers as this war will take an even heavier toll on their country as winter progresses.
When Russia shocked the world by initiating a war with Ukraine (click here). British Asian Christian Association’s trustees agreed to find ways to support both people fleeing the war and those choosing to stay in Ukraine.
Our work towards this grows in strength after we began to finance a Gospel and food programme for many Odessan’s choosing to stay in Ukraine. You will already be aware that our partners led by Pastor Vasilev have begun to share bags of food and Bibles with desperate people. You can read more (here)
Ukraine has primarily stayed the same since our last update from Pastor Vasilev.
Most things have stayed the same in Odessa since the last update, including the continuation of a curfew, however there have been further missile attacks one that was most significant was the attack on the port of Odessa, which was targeted by Russian missiles.
Ships had only just started to leave the Odessa port as Russia signed an agreement to not attack the port to help with addressing global grain shortage. Only hours after signing the agreement however, the Odessa port was bombed. The impact of that and other small attacks since has left many Odessans frightened and in a state of low morale. Pastor Vasilev has been providing counselling to many people and has seen much more interest in the Church as swathes of people try to make sense of the world around them.
British Asian Christian Association has continued its financial support to Pastor Vasilev whose church is involved in feeding increasingly desperate people. The church hand out Bibles and hold regular outreaches on the streets of Odessa and are seeing people moved by the Word of God. We were late with our last payment of £500 due to a reduction of donations during the harsh economic climate around the globe and are hoping that more of you can support this work. We currently fund Pastor Vasilev’s church with £500 a month towards the delivery of food and the Gospel. If you can help us continue this work please donate (here).
The church has become a beacon of hope in their local community.
This time we share a more visual experience of the work we are supporting, firstly with this video of some street ministry:
Sharing the Gospel and witnessing.
The Bible tells us that ‘Man cannot live by bread alone’ and Pastor Vasilev is keen to share spiritual food alongside our food aid provision. To this extent part of our funds also pay for Bible’s in Ukrainian that are being distributed for free amongst the people of Odessa. The cost of our work endeavour in Ukraine amounts to £500 a month.
Some Ukrainians are leaving while some are still coming to Odessa from other cities. Unemployment has increased due to the amount of businesses closing down. The rate of the US dollar is increasing which has resulted in more expensive imported goods exacerbating and already difficult and frightening situation. People continue to be concerned about unemployment. Many desperate people are no longer able to provide basic necessities like food and medicine for their families. Pastor Vasilev has filmed a short video explaining the situation of Odessa for our supporters to get a better understanding. This will also help with prayers points:
Pastor Vasilev has continued church services, and is currently holding them three times a week, with attendances ranging from 12 to 20 people on average. He recently had a special guest preacher from the US who encouraged Ukrainian Christians to hold onto their faith. He also reminded them that God is with them through these troubling times.
Pastor Vasilev does not only share the Gospel and food with people on the streets or at his church but also attend prisons where they sing songs, preach and share food. Pastor Vasilev is fully intent on making sure he reaches as many people as possible with the Gospel during these dangerous times when war creates a very serious risk of death.
Prisoners worship and pray during a regular prison ministry provided by Pastor Vasilev. Every attempt is being made to bring more people to God.
It should be noted that Pastor Vasilev himself is not Ukrainian but he has chosen to stay in Ukraine when safety was offered in his homeland, so that he could continue the work that God has placed upon him.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“Ukrainians who choose to stay in their homeland are suffering great hardship that may yet continue for a very long time.
“The ravages of war are never pleasant and we as Christians must pray for and support those we can not just because it is good witness, but because God calls for us to love our neighbour.
“There are many heartbreaking stories we are going to hear from Ukraine and BACA has created a vehicle for support because our supporters wanted it.
“We will continue to do this for as long as we can afford to help – we need your support.”
“Pastor Vasilev could have easily fled the danger and returned to his own homeland but he chose to stay in Ukraine.
“He and his church are determined to share the Gospel and to provide more physical support in the supply of food and other necessary products.
“Their sacrifice is testament to us all, a declaration of love, a profession of faith and a dutiful response to the call to help the needy.”