We serve Christians around the world whose brave faith in Jesus means they are, beaten, threatened, imprisoned, tortured, falsely accused, disowned and hated.

Ukraine: The situation facing Christians

pattern

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we’re asking what is the future for the church in the country – and the signs aren’t positive. In Crimea, a region of South East Ukraine that has been under Russian control since 2014, at least 10 Protestant Christians were fined for exercising their faith in 2021, according to the news service Forum18.

In 2021, 23 administrative prosecutions under the Yarovaya law – also known as an ‘anti-missionary law’ – were documented. These laws were imposed by Russia after it occupied Crimea in 2014.

Four cases involved members of the House of the Potter Protestant Church in Sevastopol, a city on the Black Sea coast. The pastor, Evgenii Kornev, and a church member were fined for leading church services and another church member was fined twice for actively participating in the services. Charges were partly based on evidence gathered from the church’s social media channels.

Christians charged for singing at a bus stop

It’s not the first time the church clashed with authorities. Over the years, some of its members and the pastor have been charged under the law that criminalises ‘Russians conducting missionary activity’ for speaking with people, distributing leaflets and singing at a bus stop.

And they’re not the only church coming under increasing pressure. In February 2022, Russia’s security service raided a small Protestant church in Kerch, a town in eastern Crimea, allegedly to make sure the community was operating in compliance with Russia’s Religion Law. In the end, one church member was accused of, and fined for, handing out leaflets to two women who were not members of the church.

How does the situation in Crimea compare to other regions in Ukraine?

The situation in Crimea is different from what is happening in the eastern Donbas region and the rest of Ukraine, says Rolf Zeegers, an Open Doors’ World Watch Research analyst.

Protestant churches in Donbas have been under increasing pressure since 2014 after rebels, backed by Russia, established self-proclaimed independent republics in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.

“While Russia affirmed the independence of both the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, it has not yet annexed them and therefore the Russia’s Religion Law, including the anti-missionary laws, do not apply here,” Zeegers explains.

“That said, authorities in these republics can make their own religion laws, and reports from last year show that they sometimes go further in their actions against certain denominations than Russia itself.

Human rights and religious freedom violations remain of concern, Zeegers says. “The current regime is nationalist and wants Russia to return as a world power… The USSR was a totalitarian state and Russia has increasingly moved in that direction over the past years. No independent thinkers are allowed and, as in the old USSR, the levels of surveillance and monitoring are high.”

PRAY NOW...
1

That tensions will de-escalate between Russia and Ukraine

3

That God will thwart the plans of the enemy towards Ukraine.

2

That the church in Ukraine will be a beacon of hope

Three things you can do now:
  • 1
    Learn more and pray:

    Get our free glow-in-the-dark World Watch List Map and find out more about the places where faith costs the most.

    Get your map…
  • 2
    Pray regularly:

    Every Monday night at 7pm we'll be praying one prayer for one minute for the one in seven Christians around the world who face persecution. Set an alarm and tune in…

    Join us…
  • 3
    Choose to Lose:

    Raise money by getting sponsored to lose something you love for a short time. Sign up and we'll send you a fundraising pack…

    Sign up…
NEWS
July 8, 2024

Pray for Christians in Mexico facing forced displacement, death threats and violence from criminal gangs…

Find out more
July 8, 2024

“I realized that everyone needs God, even if they don’t understand it or admit it. So, the main thing for me is to share about Him”…

Find out more
July 1, 2024

The church in North Africa is growing, with increasing numbers of people giving their lives to Jesus. But many are forced to keep their newfound faith secret because of the risk of persecution – people like Elmahdi from Morocco.

Find out more
July 1, 2024

Pray for Sister Muthu, who has being showing forgiveness to her persecutors and drawing people into God’s love…

Find out more
June 24, 2024

Pray for two boys who have been sent to prison camps simply for singing and sharing pop music from South Korea…

Find out more
June 24, 2024

Multiple Christian converts have been sentenced for ‘membership in disruptive groups’…

Find out more
June 17, 2024

Estimates suggest more than 13,200 schools in Central and West Africa were closed because of conflict, affecting the education of 2.5 million children. See how Open Doors is helping…

Find out more
June 17, 2024

It’s been a year since violence broke out in Manipur, India, displacing thousands of people. Despite the struggles, Pastor Lian, explains there is reason for hope…

Find out more
June 10, 2024

Please pray for Malu and her family, who are still hiding from the attackers who killed her father…

Find out more
June 10, 2024

Pray for student Meryem who’s secret faith was discovered by her parents, and is now being forced to stay at home…

Find out more
btn-scroll