Ukraine: Evangelicals call for aid and prayer as pro-Russian militants destroy cities

Christians in Ukraine have painted a vivid picture of life in the conflict zones in the east of the country and called for prayer and help with relief work.

Igor Bandura, vice-president of the All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists

The All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (AUUAECB) said that around 5,500 Baptists are among the more than 100,000 people displaced from their homes in struggles with pro-Russian separatists.

The Union said in a statement: "Bridges and supply lines are destroyed. Roads and streets are blocked with checkpoints. Cannonade from explosions is heard every night. Many apartments and cars are destroyed. Tanks are ploughing through the city streets."

Local churches have been mobilised to provide assistance to the displaced and are collecting and distributing donations to assist those injured. Campsites are housing families and orphans. Assistance is being given to families who have lost loved ones in the conflict and health facilities operated by Christian groups are attending to the wounded.

Some reports say that separatists are increasingly targeting evangelical Christians in Eastern Ukraine by beating, torturing and even killing them. The attacks included the killing of four Baptists who were dragged out of their church in Slavyansk in June and whose bodies were found in a mass grave in July.

"In these difficult circumstances, we are called to enhance the ministry for the sake of victory over evil and in every possible way, to help stop the war," the AUUAECB said in its letter.