Ukraine On The Brink Of Civil War
This week has been the bloodiest and most tragic week yet in the pro-democracy demonstrations which began in November, 2013. News agencies are reporting that 35 people have died this week, and approximately 1,000 have been injured in clashes with police and para-military forces.
The last negotiated agreement between the government and opposition leaders called on parliament to reinstate earlier laws which give parliament greater power to govern Ukraine. Parliament met on Monday and refused to honor the agreement.
Demonstrators had been peaceful and were waiting for a greater voice and representation in the government. When that was refused, protests became violent. Both sides entered armed conflict. The police responded with stun grenades, non-lethal bullets fired from weapons, water canons, and batons used to beat people. The demonstrators used molotov cocktails, rocks, and fireworks.
Demonstrators took control of more government, police, and military buildings, setting them on fire. Here in L'viv, seven different government buildings have been attacked by demonstrators and set ablaze.
The subway system in Kiev has been shut down, both airports in Kiev were closed, roads into the city have been blocked, an inbound train to Kiev was stopped, and several border crossings into Poland have been closed to Ukrainians leaving the country.
Wednesday there was a ceasefire and no armed conflict. This morning fighting has begun again in Kiev. In the L'viv region, the local government has declared independence from the federal government of Ukraine.
Many of the para-military forces from western Ukraine whom have been serving in Kiev, are beginning to quit, lay down their arms, and return home. A growing number of members of President Victor Yanukovich's ruling party are resigning, and some are fleeing the country.
Most people now recognize there can only be one of two outcomes that will bring this to an end. The president must resign and there must be snap presidential elections. (He is refusing to even consider that option.)
Or there will be a total civil war. In the raids on police and para-military buildings, hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition, weapons, and grenades have been stolen. The people will not back down and will only accept a new government which gives the people the democracy which would lead to greater freedom and opportunity for the people of Ukraine.
Russia has a strong interest in seeing Ukraine come back under it's sphere of control and influence. The majority of Ukrainians absolutely do not support that outcome. The possibility of Russia intervening militarily is a very real scenario.
My family and I are safe. We are on the U.S. Embassy emergency list which provides the latest warnings, news and evacuation information should that become necessary. We are under no threat and no danger. We have no plans to leave Ukraine. With the exception of those areas of the city where people are demonstrating it looks like life as usual.
Thank you all for your emails and concern. Thank you for your prayers. Pray for peace in Ukraine. Please pass our prayer request on to those you know.
How to pray:
- Of course, for peace & violence to end
- For strong effective leadership to guide the nation
- For passions to give way to reason and peace
- For the church to be God's instrument for peace
- For people to believe the gospel