Ukrainian churches rush to help amid deadly Russian strikes

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Churches rush to emergency aid to Ukraine as the state emergency service says at least one person was killed by a Russian strike on the southern city of Mykolaiv overnight while as Russian missile strikes continue across the country. Missionaries also support churches to relieve human suffering from the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine by providing warmth, hope and millions of meals.

By Stefan J. Bos

Kyiv residents line up for water after Russian missiles hit critical facilities in the war-torn country. As a result, large parts of the Ukrainian capital were left without electricity and water. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 40% of residents had no running water, with 270,000 apartments without electricity as of Monday night.

Although authorities said on Tuesday they had managed to restore power for the most part; more blackouts are expected as Russia continues to hit the energy grid and other critical infrastructure.

And millions are feared to face what Christian aid workers call “a brutal and potentially deadly winter”. Poor rural Ukrainians are said to have cut down unused furniture and buildings for warmth.

That’s why the US-based missionary group, Slavic Gospel Association, started its so-called “Ukraine Winter Heat and Hope Project” with hundreds of churches in Ukraine.

The group says it is rushing to generators and supplies of firewood, charcoal and thermal blankets for local churches where families can shelter and stay warm for the potentially freezing cold.

He added that blankets and generators would be shipped from Germany and neighboring Poland, while firewood and coal would be purchased locally in Ukraine.

Missionaries said local churches working on the front lines have already been involved in delivering seven million meals while sharing the hope of the gospel message since the war began.

There was also some hope for millions of hungry people: the UN-run center coordinating a Black Sea grain export deal says three more ships carrying grain left the Ukrainian ports on Tuesday.

Officials said earlier on Monday another 12 ships carrying 354,500 tons of food left Ukraine.

The ships managed to leave despite Russia halting its support for the deal on Saturday, saying Ukraine was using a safe corridor to attack its Black Sea Fleet.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of “blackmailing the world with hunger”, a claim Moscow denies.

Ukraine is considered the breadbasket of the world and the war has heightened concerns about the security of the world’s food supply.

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