UKRAINE AS I SEE IT by Keith Tucci
There appears to be somewhat of a military standoff in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Russian troops are dug in and there is a continued expectation of a push from either side. Soldiers and civilians continue to die. It’s estimated that Ukraine has lost about 20,000 soldiers and another 100,000 are wounded. An additional 9,000 civilians targeted by Russian aggression have died. The number of wounded civilians is hard to calculate. Conservative numbers are 15,000.
I have been there and have clearly seen with my own eyes complete residential areas, small towns and villages, targeted by Russian troops and missiles for annihilation. And such heartbreak and human suffering that is hard to grasp. People buried in their yards! I’ve also witnessed amazing believers who are living out their faith every day to care for the needy and spread the gospel. These targets had no military or strategic significance. The Russian actions are state terrorism designed to intimidate people into submission. It hasn't worked. Russian losses are even more staggering; the numbers are estimated to be over 40,000 dead and 150,000 wounded. Many believe Russian casualties could be much greater.
It’s interesting to me that there are some conservative commentators that are trying to convince the unknowing that Russia is somehow leading the fight against globalism. It must escape their notice that Russia has deployed troops into other countries—Georgia, Chechnya, Syria, and Kazakhstan–none of which, in any way, posed a security risk to Russia. Then, of course, there is Belarus that was taken over without a shot fired.
If Putin is successful in his bid to overtake Ukraine, his ability to intimidate other countries into submission without a shot fired increases. Just ask Moldavia, a country that is being pressured now. A list of Russian allies is very revealing. Only North Korea and Syria have recognized the two breakaway regions that Putin claims as new Russian territory.
So if Russia is the country that is resisting globalism, as some suggest, we need to consider the difference between a political philosophy and tyrannical action. I’m not suggesting that globalism is benign. I’m merely pointing out that Putin has said out loud that he would like to see the former Soviet states restored. Of course that means with Russia as the head. It’s important to remember that the Soviet doctrine was to increase its territory. Long ago, Catherine the Great of Russia said the best way to protect your borders is to expand them. This mentality is still entrenched in Russia. History hardly has a time frame that has not seen Russia try to expand its grip on others. If not for an expansionist mindset, why else would Putin be so opposed to little countries like Finland being part of NATO? The facts tell us that Russia is, in fact, the nation which by their actions is aggressively progenerating their own form of globalism.
Even historically neutral Sweden now wants to be a part of NATO to protect itself from Russia.
Sweden's posture is very telling, and we should learn from it. There are others that are telling us that because Biden has been supporting Ukraine, then it must be corrupt or wrong and that we should oppose anything he supports. But even a broken clock is right twice a day! I’m not suggesting Ukraine is all clean and neat or even without corruption. They have been a free country for only 31 years and have made giant strides in every conceivable category. It does seem obvious, however, that the USA came to the party a day late. They withdrew U.S. personnel from Ukraine two months before Russia’s attack. Only after Ukraine shocked the world by resisting the Russians did we decide to help. Everyone loves a winner.
In my opinion, had the U.S. offered military support beforehand, there may be no war today. I’m not for sending troops or being the world’s police. There are, however, moments in history where the cost of intervention against a tyrant must be understood in the big picture. Otherwise, we would all be speaking German today.
From a military perspective, technology has drastically changed war. The money we are spending, which is almost exclusively on weapons and technology, is money better spent now than trying to figure it out if we were under attack! The Russian blitzkrieg has not worked in part because they had outdated technology. We may have to thank Ukraine someday for giving us the opportunity and allowing us to learn how to defend ourselves by developing technology and modern tactics to go with it. Please remember that our military and the ability to defend ourselves has been depleted. This unfortunate war has caused us to reinvest in our military.
WHAT’S A CHRISTIAN TO DO?
Jesus has not withdrawn the Great Commission for the Ukrainians or the Russians, and we are still required to love our neighbor, even if there is an ocean between us. I think that should be more compelling than the host of conspiracy theories that abound. It saddens my heart to hear Christians speculate on what George Soros is doing (as if they really know) rather than what Jesus clearly said. Jesus is Lord–not Putin or Soros.
Before the war, Ukraine was clearly the most Christian country in Europe. The Orthodox Church in Ukraine, because of its ties to Russia, has lost its cultural grip on Ukraine. People are now turning from dead religion and superstition. Towns that had no gospel witness are now having churches planted in them, and we are a part of that. Imagine being in the midst of a war zone where people are out of work. There are little resources, and in the midst of that we are planting churches. It’s truly amazing! The church’s profile in Ukraine is casting a healing shadow on the nation. The door to Europe is wide open. Will we dare to go through that door?
A Christian worldview requires us to see the world like Christ saw it–lost and broken. A carnal view holds that governments, whether good or bad, somehow dictate the Church. How should we respond? The Church must not ponder conspiracies when we have a clear mandate. As I write, seed is needed to throw on fertile ground. Please join me to keep our mission to make history–His story–become a reality and not just a missed opportunity.
On our last trip we helped plant two churches that are now meeting–one of them outside. Any place where a church could meet has been destroyed. There are 14 more towns that we are reaching out to that need a church. Today I’ve ok’d the purchase of two tents from Romania which we can use to accomplish the goal. Our vans continue to run food and medicine convoys into the war zone. We have a July trip that we are working out the details on. We have been asked to go into other war zone areas where help is still desperately needed. Please help me say yes to these requests. We don’t arrive empty-handed; food, medicine, tents, and tools will be part of what we bring, with your help.
The weapons of our warfare are spiritual to the pulling down of strongholds.
We are pulling down strongholds. Help us give them a yank!
You can support our efforts in Ukraine by continuing to give HERE.
In the Master’s Service,
NRP Team Leader