Global Evangelical figures and organizations are calling for peace and prayer as top U.S. leaders fear Russia’s full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine is just the beginning of an attempt to “reestablish” the former Soviet Union.
Russia began its attacks early Thursday, targeting Ukrainian military assets in several key cities nationwide. Reports indicate that Russian forces have also descended on the capital, Kyiv, with shelling impacting civilian locations such as bridges, schools and an apartment building.
The death toll continues to rise. On Friday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said that at least 137 Ukrainians had died so far, including 10 military officers. Additionally, he reported that at least 316 people had been wounded. Zelensky has accused Moscow of targeting civilians.
Many fear the invasion will trigger another refugee crisis. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Thursday that more than 100,000 people have moved within Ukraine to flee violence.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has drawn strong condemnation from the international community. U.S. President Joe Biden vowed Thursday that in 30 days his administration will re-impose sanctions he previously lifted. He said the U.S. would also work with allies to enact additional sanctions, including possibly cutting Russia off from Western financing (Swift payments system) and tech imports to thwart President Vladimir Putin’s plans for expansion.
Biden, however, added that the U.S. will continue paying Russia for its oil imports, saying, "You know, in our sanctions package, we specifically designed to allow energy payments to continue."
The president also addressed Putin's longterm strategy during Thursday's press conference, adding: “He has much larger ambitions in Ukraine. He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about."
In an interview with CBS News, Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed.
"You don't need intelligence to tell you that that's exactly what President Putin wants," Blinken said. "He's made clear that he'd like to reconstitute the Soviet empire. Short of that, he'd like to reassert a sphere of influence around neighboring countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc. And short of that, he'd like to make sure that all of these countries are somehow neutral."
Among the many voices speaking out, Evangelical leaders across the globe have called on supporters to pray for Ukraine. Additionally, some Evangelical organizations have campaigns active to help those in need.
The following pages highlight the reactions of five Evangelical leaders and organizations to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.