William Yoder, Ph.D.
According to reports, refugees heading eastward into Russia from the troubled regions of eastern Ukraine outnumber those heading westward by 20-40%. Nevertheless, the ones travelling eastward appear to have stronger support from Russia — the hosting government. Housing, food and medical care appear to be organised; refugees are given free tickets to move elsewhere for residency and work. Some Ukrainians are being placed as far east as central Siberia. Baptists from Rostov region, Bryansk and Belarus have been active in tent camps within Russia near the Ukrainian border, organising activities primarily for children.
On the Ukrainian side of the border, North American Mennonites are active in humanitarian work from their offices in Zaporozhe (central Ukraine). See: «https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mennonite-Centre-Ukraine/735361069838076». The initiative of a German Baptist, Heinrich Becker, appears to have access to the embattled city of Donetsk from the west. His organisation «Hoffnungsträger Ost e.V.» is located in Darmstadt, see: «www.Hoffnungstraeger-Ost.de». Germany’s Baptist Federation in Elstal is working through Baptist Union offices in Kiev.
Humanitarian efforts in Ukraine are undoubtedly worthy of serious evangelical support.
Smolensk, 2 August 2014