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The war in Ukraine explained

Megan Gingerich
May 10, 2022

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by all the news coming out of Ukraine, you’re not alone.

You probably know that the Russian attack began on Feb. 24 in eastern Ukraine. But since then, it’s been a whirlwind. The war in Ukraine created the biggest humanitarian crisis in decades — but what exactly is going on and how can you help? Here’s everything you need to know.

Why did Russia attack Ukraine?

Russia and Ukraine have had tension brewing for decades, ever since Ukraine became an independent country in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine to be part of Russia again.

According to Putin, his goal is to “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine.” Putin maintains that Russian-speaking residents in eastern Ukraine have been subjected to genocide — a completely unfounded claim. At the same time, world leaders like President Zelenskyy of Ukraine and President Joe Biden have stated that Russia is the one committing genocide, pointing to evidence of war crimes such as the bodies of civilians who were found shot dead with their hands tied behind their backs.

The attack on Ukraine was completely unprovoked … and Russian forces have made it increasingly clear that they are willing to continue committing war crimes and human rights violations to accomplish their goal.

What is the evidence for war crimes and human rights violations?

War crimes and human rights violations are two accusations that shouldn’t be spoken of lightly, but the evidence against Russia is growing exponentially.

When Russian forces withdrew from Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, an investigation discovered that civilians were shot in the streets and piled in mass graves. Russia tried to dismiss the bodies as a hoax, but satellite imaging revealed that the bodies had been there for weeks. Investigators also found evidence of torture and sexual violence.  

The unspeakable cruelty and brutality shocked the world.

In addition to the Bucha massacre, Russia has launched airstrikes on hospitals, residential neighborhoods, and a train station where civilians were trying to escape the country. In the train station attack alone, nearly 60 civilians were killed, including seven children. Refugees even reported that the Russian military fired at them while they were waiting in line for food.

What’s happening in Ukraine now?

The war in Ukraine is still ongoing. Over 5.6 million people have fled the country to escape violence, and millions more are internally displaced. Most refugees are headed to Poland, but some have found sanctuary in western Ukraine or nearby countries like Hungary, Romania, and Moldova.

The priority for Ukrainians right now is survival. They are dependent upon humanitarian aid and refugee centers to provide them with the essentials they need like food, clothing, basic medical care, and more – but these supplies are constantly running out.

Meanwhile, Russian forces continue to lay siege to cities in Ukraine, including the vital port city of Mariupol. Reports suggest that Russian shelling has destroyed 90 percent of Mariupol, and as many civilians are being evacuated as possible.

Ukraine stunned Russia with strong resistance and regained control in Kyiv, but the war is far from over. Now, Russia is launching attacks on western Ukraine’s infrastructure including power grids and railways to minimize incoming shipments of weapons and other supplies.

How can you help?

With everything happening in Ukraine right now, it’s easy to feel like you can’t do anything to help. The amount of cruelty and violence in the world can be overwhelming. But you are not powerless.

The first way you can help Ukrainians is to pray. Even if you don’t see God’s answer right away, no prayer is ever in vain or goes unheard. The people of Ukraine desperately need your prayers right now.

Click here for specific prayer requests from Ukrainian refugees.

The second way you can help is to give. Ukrainian refugees running for their lives need food, water, shelter, clothing, and more. You can help provide those things for just $35.

Your $35 gift provides emergency aid to one refugee in Ukraine or another high-conflict area for a week.

The situation is critical, but you can make a difference and choose to stand with Ukraine. You can show a refugee fighting to survive that you see them and you care — all while also demonstrating the love of Christ.

Click the button below to give now and help a refugee.

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