23 September 2015

UKRAINE: "Sounds of Silence and Rumors of War," By Jeff Franks

Russia has been backing separatists at war in Eastern Ukraine, but you’d never know it by watching the evening news. The predominate sounds in Western media seem to be mostly silence. However, here in Ukraine TV, radio talk shows, and newspapers are just abuzz with rumors. Everyone’s on edge about one big question: Will Russia invade? Fighting in Ukraine’s eastern provinces, collectively called Donbas, flares up from time to time, and then dies down.
To date about 8,000 people have been killed and at least twice that number have been wounded, both soldiers and civilians. These figures do not take into account Russian soldiers, whose existence is officially denied. However, no few of them have been transported back to Russia for burial, sadly. More than a million people from Donbas have fled their homes as refugees in Ukraine and Russia.
Recently, General Ben Hodges, Commander of U.S Army in Europe, estimated that there are up to 12,000 Russian soldiers now fighting inside Ukraine, another 50,000 are amassed on Ukraine’s eastern border, and 29,000 more occupy the illegally annexed territory of Crimea. Why does Russia keep this many troops at the ready?
People who think Russian President Vladimir Putin will invade give these reasons:
1) For more than a millennium Ukraine and its capital Kiev (spelled “Kyiv” Ukrainian- style) have been part and parcel of Russian history and therefore of the Russian soul. After all, the ancient state of Kievan Rus’ began under Prince Oleg of Novgorod here in 882 AD.
2) Therefore, many Russian leaders want to return Ukraine to Moscow’s political, social, economic, and cultural control, and not allow her to remain in a Western-leaning orbit.
3) Allowing Ukraine to keep it’s Western stance means it could either become a NATO country or at least could be used as a base for an invasion by others. In Putin’s mind Ukraine must never become a military threat.
4) Allowing Ukraine to trade freely with Europe and the West will lead to a more robust economy and increased trade, like in Poland.. This in tandem with increased political freedom could lead to widespread popular dissatisfaction in Russia, and thus threaten Putin’s authoritarian regime. The only cure for this is invasion, some say.
5) The next president of USA will undoubtedly be more firm and decisive militarily than the current president, and therefore it will be more expedient for Russia to invade Ukraine earlier, rather than later.
Here are some reasons from people who think Putin will not invade Ukraine:
1) The costs far outweigh the advantages. First, Russia cannot risk the West coming to Ukraine’s aid via outright military assistance. It cannot risk NATO’s encroachment up to its very borders. Secondly, increased economic sanctions at this point might turn Russia’s financial tail spin into a horrendous crash.
2) Russia has already won and militarily occupied Crimea. This and their present control of several hundred kilometers of Ukraine’s border can be held ad-infinitum as a buffer against NATO encroachment.
3) Ukraine has borrowed so much money from the Europe and the IMF to bolster their war-footing, that it will take decades to recover economically. Therefore, Ukraine will no time soon become a vibrant trade partner with an economically ailing Europe.
4) Putin is “happy” with a frozen conflict in Ukraine similar to those that Russia engineered in Transnistria in Moldova, and in Abkhazia and North Ossetia in the Republic of Georgia. Perhaps Russia’s intervention in Syria is the very thing Putin is counting on to help the UN Security council “forget” Ukraine as just another frozen conflict.
We and the Baptists of Ukraine have been praying intensely that the reasons for NOT invading Ukraine will take center stage in the minds of the Kremlin’s leaders. We do not rejoice in Russia’s economic distresses, but of late they have helped her leaders to more soberly count the costs of military aggression.
We are also keenly aware that peace in our world comes through strength, both political and economic, but especially military. For the sake of peace in Ukraine we invite you join us in praying that military strength will be used by wise leaders here who know and fear God. Though Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, he is also the only one worthy of the title “Prince of Peace.” Let us remember Ukraine and Russia before Him in our prayers today!

1 comment:

  1. It truly is a sad day to hear this. Putin isn't fooling too many, he's too obvious. Not sure what he's doing in Syria, hearing so many different stories.
    Praying for the whole of Ukraine. Too many are displaced. The stories of the soldiers not being sent home to be buried is heart breaking, keeping the number of deaths quiet.


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