In recent weeks, I have asked for prayer for the upheaval in Ukraine.  An agreement was signed on February 21st and endorsed by mediators from France, Germany, and Poland.  Under the new agreement, the Ukrainian parliament voted this past Saturday to impeach and remove from office Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a Moscow ally, by a vote of 328-0.  Parliament also voted to free jailed opposition leader and former president, Yulia Tymoshenko.  Mr. Yanukovych then fled Kiev, the capital, vowing that he was the nation’s rightful president and that he would not resign his office.  A warrant has now been issued for the arrest of Mr. Yanukovych on murder charges related to his orders to fire upon protestors.

The geopolitical turmoil between Russia and the West will continue as Russia questions the legitimacy of Ukraine’s new interim government.  The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the agreement that curtailed Mr. Yanukovych’s power was being violated “with the tacit consent of its external sponsors.”  As a result, the Foreign Ministry concluded that the February 21st accord “is being used only as a cover to promote a scenario of forced change of power in Ukraine.”  Serial liar and National Security Advisor Susan “No Regrets” Rice warned that Russia would make a “grave mistake” if it sent military forces to Ukraine.  She did not elaborate on the consequences, but I am sure that President Putin was appropriately frightened.  Nevertheless, intelligence reports indicate that there were no outward signs of such a move by the Putin government.  However, at this time, the situation continues to be fluid and dangerous.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian Parliament named Oleksandr Turchynov as the interim President.  Dr. Turchynov, 49, a leading and well-respected opposition lawmaker, served as interim prime minister in 2010 after the resignation of Yulia Tymoshenko, the predecessor of the ousted president.  Dr. Turchynov also served as the Deputy Prime Minister from 2007 through 2010.  Of particular interest to Mere Comments readers is the fact that Dr. Turchynov is also a devout brother in Christ, and serves as one of the ministers in a Baptist church in Kiev, where he occasionally preaches.  In my prior blog about the upheaval in Ukraine, I reported on how Orthodox priests and other Christians, including physicians, nurses, cooks, students, and others helped both security forces and protestors in the face-off at Kiev’s Independence Square.  Many churches throughout Ukraine united in prayer and fasting for peace, asking for God’s intervention and protection in this crisis.  As a result, people cried out to God, and many news and media reports in Ukraine focused on the role of the Church and Christian believers in resolving the crisis.  Even Ukrainian television news frequently quoted the Holy Scriptures in informing viewers of developments.

Although many lives were lost in the past three months of this crisis, I want to quote from an email I received this weekend from a friend who is Christian attorney in Ukraine.  He wrote the following:

Unfortunately, many people have much anger and hatred for opponents.  People are disappointed in all politicians and do not want to forgive anyone.  Many are determined just to revenge, burn and bring about injuries.  But we need to face this challenge with Christ.  What Ukraine needs is not just a change of people in authority, but a change of the system and the relationship of the authorities to ordinary citizens.  Ukraine needs love, mercy and forgiveness.  Ukraine needs Christ!

Indeed!  God is using many to provide assistance to the suffering people of Ukraine.  If you or your church want to help any of the wounded, the sick, the families of those killed, or with other social projects to begin restoration of Ukraine, please leave me a message at the Fellowship of St. James offices at (773) 481-1090.  I will then put you in touch with channels to assist some of the Ukrainian victims of oppression.  Please continue to pray for the situation in Ukraine, and for their upcoming elections, presently set for May 25, 2014, that God will continue to work mightily in this great, but suffering, nation.