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The Wild, Wild East, Part 2- News from Ukraine

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense. He has become my salvation.”  Isaiah 12:2

After thirteen years, were not surprised at the speed and velocity of the revolution. Ukraine has extraordinary potential; natural resources and geographical position, yet the country is divided.

If East could meet West, it would likely be in Ukraine. To the East lies Russia, to the North Belarus and to the West, five European countries. Ukraine has been invaded so many times it’s difficult to remember them all. Think about that, living in America. On the surface, Ukraine is a usual Eastern European country, underneath the government is between a dictatorship and democracy.uk14_1

The deadly attack in Kyiv claimed at least 108 lives. One, was the best friend of a Gift of Life driver. A member of the church in Krementz, a women doctor was struck in the neck by a bullet. She is now in stable condition. Praise be to God!

Now that Yanukovych and his cabinet have fled Kyiv, a new government has been put in place and arrest warrants have been issued for them. Their whereabouts are yet unknown. Yanukovych had attempted to fly to Russia but his plane was stopped by officials. New elections are to take place May 25. The release of Yulia Tymoshenko gave a boost to the supporters although due to her connection with oligarchs, people are looking for a fresh face to take them forward into, hopefully a more democratic Ukraine.

Yesterday was a day of mourning throughout Ukraine for those who lost their lives on the Maidan in Kyiv. Church bells pealed mournfully throughout the day in Ternopil. Nick and I and group of Ukrainian friends went to the Maidan (city square) in Ternopil after church and added candles and flowers that were placed in the form of a cross for those who perished. The youngest protestor to lose his life was from Ternopil region, an only child and 17 years of age. He had been on the Maidon in Kyiv for only two hours when he was felled by a bullet.

What happens next will depend upon support from the west economically and whether the country will remain united or split. The Olympic Games in Sochi have ended. In the Western part of Ukraine people are solidified. They clearly want the connection to Europe, however, the East, South and Crimea are on the fence.

After the violence in Kyiv people began “hunkering down,” storing up provisions, fuel, money however, it was short lived.  Preventative measures were put in place by  Gift of Life (GoL) administration ahead of the crisis assisted by the GoL technical support staff who stepped up to the task.

The last several days have been calm and quiet with businesses running as usual. Trains are running, the highway to Kyiv is travel-able.  The metro (underground subway) in Kyiv is operating, and air travel in or out of the country is unobstructed.

Today the barricades are being removed in Kyiv, traffic is flowing through the Maidon and there is a sense of elation that with the military and police backing the protestors’ has led people to feel more secure. Local groups of men have volunteered to maintain law and order both in Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine (including Ternopil). We will travel to Kyiv very early Wed. morning by train to visit counselors Anna and Svitlana who have not experienced an interruption in their work during the week’s events.

Gift of Life operates as usual. Kerry and I are safe and hadn’t even been aware of unrest in Ternopil one night as it happened in another section of town.  Praise be to God!  We thank you, family, friends and supporters for your concern. Please pray for Gift of Life and the people of Ukraine during these difficult times. May God bless you all!

Nicholas Laper
Gift of Life – Director