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Aid to Ukraine


WORLD Radio - Aid to Ukraine

Mission Eurasia is working to provide aid and ministry to the residents of Ukraine

Margaryta Tkachenko, 29 years old, with her children Sophia, Veronika and Nikita pose for photo in front of their damaged house in the recently retaken town of Izium, Ukraine, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022 Associated Press Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: serving the victims of Russia’s invasion.

Heartbreaking scenes continue to come into focus in the eastern Ukrainian city of Izium after Ukraine’s military chased Russian forces out of the area.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Mass graves, signs of torture, and evidence of assaults against civilians as young as four years old.

Joining us now is the head of one of the groups working to provide aid and ministry to the residents of Izium and Ukraine more broadly. Sergey Rakhuba is president of Mission Eurasia.

REICHARD: Sergey, good morning!

SERGEY RAKHUBA, GUEST: Good morning, Mary, and thank you so much for the opportunity to share what’s happening in Ukraine with your listeners.

REICHARD: You just arrived back in the United States from Izium. First of all, paint the picture for us as vividly as you can. What did you see there in Izium?

RAKHUBA: Mary, I was in the outskirts of Izium, when I was there, Ukrainian army already was protecting the area from entering there because of the danger for life for people, so we're capping there. My team was there a couple of days before and they delivered food to all those people living or who were trapped there under the occupation. And the scenes they're describing, you know, so entering the places where people were gathered under the same roof, in half-destroyed house, basically waiting for somebody who can come and liberate them. They were waiting, you know, without food, without heat, without any means, you know, to support their lives. So my team is describing, it was just unbelievable picture to see, when people were stretching their hands, you know, they were running toward these humanitarian workers, you know, our national teams that work with Mission Eurasia there delivering food, and it was so hard touching. So to see that people were waiting for the moment, in order to see that they get liberated, and they received so much needed help, you know, so the first they received food, then blankets, you know, so and all the means, you know, so that could help them to survive. The scenes they described around Izium was just horrific, you know, all this mass graves and they've seen you know, so when Ukrainian army started already working, digging out the dead bodies from those mass graves, exhuming them, putting in the refrigerators and transporting to the place where they could identify them.

REICHARD: Describe to us what Mission Eurasia is doing right now in Ukraine.

RAKHUBA: Mission Eurasia is focused on providing so much needed help, aid for our teams that we partner with that deliver it to those who are in need, interned and displaced and refugee families all across the nation. As of today, we were able to pack and distribute 135,000 family food packages. We call them iCare. One food package contains enough food to sustain a family of four or five people for at least one week or more. We add a copy of Scripture to it. So, food is to feed their bodies to sustain their life, but scripture to bring comfort to their souls. We help people to find shelter, working through our networks with churches, we help lots of families to find a safer place in Western parts of Ukraine where they get ministered, so where they get shelter, where they can get help. And also Mission Eurasia is providing lots of counseling for people that need emotional help, need spiritual help. And through pastoral care and trauma counseling, we help lots of families, especially their children, to recover from the trauma they received. So when they were running from their places when Russian troops were shelling their communities and losing, their homes, even in many cases, losing their loved ones, so we help people through a special counseling to get this help.

REICHARD: Have you been in touch with anyone on the ground in the areas where Russian forces just held their so-called referendums? If so, what did they tell you about how that played out?

RAKHUBA: I've just talked to a pastor yesterday, his name is Mikhail, he was able with his family to get out of the occupied territory. He was arrested for several days by the Russian special forces, because he was found like the most influential, spiritually influential person in town, because his church every day, they were having prayer meetings, not just in their house of prayer or their church building, but also outside and lots of people from community will join them. So the Russian soldiers or Russian Special Force, they decided just simply to deport them. It could have been, you know, a lot worse because we know many spiritual leaders, pastors just simply got disappeared in those occupied territories. So talking with Mikhail, he's sharing that story. He says, Sergey, this is just what's happening there. People during this referendum, they have no choice. Basically, under the gunpoint they have to cast their ballot, their vote, so that they want Russia to annex their territory, they want to join Russia. And he says literally, that's what happens. Russian soldiers, they walk from door to door, carrying the box, you know, for voting. And they basically with machine guns on their shoulders, they suggest people vote. Russians, so they report that they're about 95 percent of population there casting their positive vote for it. But in reality, that's what I hear from this pastor and other contacts I have there, they say barely anyone wanted to Russia to occupy or to annex their territories there.

REICHARD: How, specifically, can Christians around the world pray for the people in Izium and around Ukraine?

RAKHUBA: People can pray for Ukraine, first of all, pray for Ukrainian victory. So they're fighting for their freedom. They are fighting for their nation. They are fighting for their sovereignty. So pray that Ukrainian government will have wisdom to lead the nation in a type of distress like this, in a time of turmoil. So pray for the evangelical church, for the church overall in Ukraine when they provide spiritual leadership to their nation in a crisis like this.

REICHARD: Sergey Rakhuba is president of Mission Eurasia. Sergey, thank you for the work you do and thank you for joining us.

RAKHUBA: Thank you so much, Mary.

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