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Breaking News Update from Ukraine

A Message from Oleksandr Babiychuk, General Secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society

We just received this breaking news update from the General Secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society. Please continue to pray that the Bible's message of peace would provide hope to all people in the region.

Dear sisters and brothers,

The last few weeks have been filled with tragic events, rapid  changes and serious challenges to Ukrainian society’s unity and  integrity. Most of us have never experienced anything like this: to  realize that war could break out at any time; that our sons,  husbands and friends could be taken into army and killed or  injured, to see how certain political powers influence people’s  minds and how whole nations are used in cynical games for  political and economic control.

The situation is still very fragile. On March 1, after Russia  reportedly sent 6,000 troops to Crimea and authorized President  Putin to use military forces ‘to protect lives and interests of  Russian citizens and Russian-speaking population ALL OVER  UKRAINE’, the danger of war was extremely high. Thankfully, the  Ukrainian army and the new government were wise enough not  to respond with force. That allowed some time for the  international community to apply pressure on President Putin and  warn him of severe consequences to Russia in case of war with  Ukraine.

Another very dangerous aspect is that the Russian actions also  affect the Tatar Muslim minority. Tatars suffered violent genocide and deportation after World  War II and were able to return to their homeland only after Ukraine became independent in  1991. Therefore, Tatars are very loyal to Ukraine and equally negative towards any idea of  going back under the Russian rule. According to media reports, radical Muslims in Russia have  already warned they would resort to extremist measures if Tatars suffer in the current tensions.

Amidst all these circumstances, Ukrainian churches and the Bible Society feel their ultimate  responsibility is to actively work with all those involved in and affected by the recent events and  to try to bring the message of peace, encouragement and consolation from God.  Interconfessional prayer meetings are taking place all over Ukraine, especially in Crimea,  Southern and Eastern Ukraine. The Bible Society, which has branches working in these areas,  is hoping to be able to urgently produce more Scriptures in both Ukrainian and Russian.

At the same time, we now see the importance of having the Bible translated into Crimean Tatar.  Overall, this ethnic group has a very limited amount of printed books in their language and does  not have the full Bible. That affects their identity and explains the fact that very few of the young  people can read and write in Tatar. The translation is being carried out in cooperation with  Pioneer Bible Translators and the Institute for Bible Translation, while the Bible Society will be  responsible for its production and distribution. It is currently being edited and is expected to be  ready for production in 2015.

On behalf of all Christians in Ukraine, we would like to ask for your constant prayers for our  country, for the unity and harmony among its citizens and for peaceful resolution of the current  tensions. We also pray that God will use these difficult events for his glory so that his message  of peace and love reaches even more hearts.

In His service,

Oleksandr Babiychuk
General Secretary, Ukrainian Bible Society

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