As news continues to unfold about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we turn to God for peace and hope and participate by sending help to support Every Nation’s relief efforts by giving through this link.
Russia has aggressively been placing itself in the middle of tense situations. It is seizing a perceived opportunity to take center stage in global affairs, highlighting what they conclude as the U.S’s failed mission in Afghanistan. In December, satellite images detected an unusual build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. When the new year opened in Kazakhstan with a political crisis, Russia was quick to send troops to quell the protests.
Threat of War
Ukraine’s location and vast expanse serves as an important military buffer against the West for Russia. When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, it was a vital ally. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has leaned Westward and Russia fears its membership in NATO which would leave Russia totally vulnerable to an attack from the West in case of a war. Ukraine President Zelenskyy has acted against the interests of Russia and has strengthened political and economic ties with the US, the UK, and EU. Furthermore, Russian President Putin has accused NATO of placing missile systems in Ukraine aimed at Russia. This is what worries Russia.
Estimates of up to 130,000 Russian troops are deployed along the border in addition to artillery, heavy weaponry, tanks, and air defenses. To put that in perspective, during the US war in Afghanistan, US troop deployment peaked in 2011 with over 100,000 soldiers. In other words, there is no reason to deploy over 100,000 troops unless a nation is engaged in or is preparing for war. An additional 10,000 Russian soldiers have been placed in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and another 30,000 in neighboring Belarus very soon. This has had the effect of surrounding Ukraine on three sides geographically. The US has gone so far as to accuse Russia of planning to stage a fake invasion by Ukraine in order to justify war. The Western allies have threatened heavy economic sanctions should Russia launch against Ukraine.
Russia states that the build-up is simply a matter of staging military drills and not plans for attack. However, despite possible diplomatic solutions, the negotiation ended in a deadlock. To complicate things further, China recently threw its support behind Russia’s efforts, potentially aggravating the current situation.
Emerging Conflict in the Midst of a Pandemic
In an interesting twist, an Omicron surge has hit both Russia and Ukraine in record numbers and has also spread to the soldiers. This has led to a welcome disruptive and delaying effect on military operations and on any potential conflict.
The world is watching events in the region very closely. Russia has placed itself in a position to launch an all-out war quickly. As always in times of conflict, it is the ordinary citizens who stand to suffer the most.
But in the wake of this turmoil, we hold on to Proverbs 21:1 and declare that God can indeed turn the hearts of kings and leaders toward His will. Let us lift up the situation in Ukraine in prayer.
- Ask God to thwart the plans of political and military leaders on both sides to start a war. Intercede that such leaders be removed from power. Declare Isaiah 2:4 over the situation—for swords and spears be turned into plowshares and pruning hooks, for war to be no more.
- Pray for wisdom over Western, Russian, and Ukrainian diplomats to arrive at a peaceful solution. Pray for genuine reconciliation to take place among Russian and Ukrainian people.
- Intercede for affected citizens in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. Pray for peace as well in the Russian separatist Donbas region in Ukraine. Declare the will and purposes of God to prevail.
Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.
We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.
To learn more about the situation in Ukraine, you can check the news and resources in the links below.
- BBC article on the Russia’s military build-up
- Aljazeera article about Russia winning China’s backing in NATO showdown over Ukraine
- BBC article about the US’s claims on Russia planning to stage a fake invasion
- New York Times article about Russia’s deployment of troops in the Crimean Peninsula
- New York Times article on the deployment of Russian troops to the borders of Ukraine