Kidnappings, Torture of Christians on the Rise Ukraine

Religious freedom in Ukraine was a sidebar conversation at the National Prayer Breakfast this year. The White House is weighing whether to give military aid to the war-torn nation.

Mission Eurasia, a ministry to the former Soviet Union, hosted a roundtable on how the fighting is stirring religious persecution.

Since Russia annexed Crimea and occupied other parts of Ukraine last year, there’s been a rise in intolerance toward Christian churches.

Pastors and priests have been kidnapped and subjected to harsh interrogations, torture, and even had their churches seized.

Two sons of a pentecostal pastor and two deacons were even taken hostage and shot and killed in a mass grave the next day.

Observers say Russia has a religious policy that targets believers who belong to more “pro-Ukrainian” or pro-Western aligned groups.

“Correspondingly, those who are not belonging to the so called Russian world, for example Protestants and Catholics, are described as opponents or enemies,” Dr. Mykhail Cherenkov, Association for Spiritual Renewal, said.

“I believe that your courage and your commitment to religious freedom will ultimately prevail. God still has his hand on the people of Ukraine,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said.