Russian Invasion Appears Imminent, Freedoms in Russia Evaporating under State Controls and Nationalism, Baptists Under Increased Scrutiny in Russia

04/25/14 update:

Apr 25, 3:42 PM EDT


Ukraine's deputy foreign minister said Friday he fears an imminent Russian invasion.

"We have the information we are in danger," Danylo Lubkivsky told reporters at the United Nations.

Praying for Ukraine?

A 7 Day Guide to Prayer by Caleb Suko and other missionary friends

God at Work in Ukraine Facebook page
Description from the God at Work page:

Stories about how God is at work in churches during the crisis in Ukraine

This is a unique time in Ukraine's history as the crisis with Russia heats up. The news reports coming from Ukraine include violent images of protesters and mobs taking control of government buildings.

What you don't see in the news is that God is at work in the lives of individual Ukrainians and in many churches all over Ukraine. We want to share with you how God is working in Ukraine today and how you could possibly help!

Note that the paragraphs below the links are summaries as they appear in the articles

As Ukraine Moves Against Militias, Russia Begins Military Drills

APRIL 24, 2014

The defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said that the exercises would include troop movements on the ground as well as flights by the Russian air force. Mr. Shoigu also complained about NATO exercises in Poland and the Baltics, which the alliance announced recently in response to previous Russian threats of military intervention in Ukraine.

And the noose tightens on freedom in Russia

Update from May 5, 2014: 
Russia's Putin outlaws denial of Nazi crimes

Russia: Swearing in films banned by lower house
They are banned from posting extremist and terrorist information, propagating pornography or violence, and disclosing state or commercial secrets. The bloggers will be obliged to verify the information they post, delete false reports and abstain from disclosing people's personal data. They will also be banned from using obscene language. Some other restrictions may apply, such as the “day of silence” ahead of elections.
published time: April 22, 2014 15:00

from article below

Published April 23, 2014
Associated Press

The founder of Russia's leading social media network -- a wunderkind often described as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg -- has left his post as CEO and fled the country as cronies of President Vladimir Putin have made steady inroads into the company's ownership.

The slow-motion ouster of Pavel Durov from the network known as VKontakte, or "In Contact," is the latest sign that independent media outlets in Russia have become increasingly imperiled.

MOSCOW Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:02pm EDT

In an op-ed earlier this month on the day Russian lawmakers voted to give President Vladimir Putin permission to send troops into Ukraine, Andrei Zubov warned against war, saying: "We must not behave the way Germans once behaved, based on the promises of Goebbels and Hitler."

The Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), a diplomatic school with ties to the foreign ministry where Zubov has worked since 2001, said it had dismissed him for criticising Russia's foreign policy.

As tension rises in eastern Ukraine, Russian nationalism rises in Moscow
PRI's The World
Producer David Leveille
April 14, 2014 · 5:45 PM EDT

"This banner was unfurled in front of Dom Knigi, one of the largest bookstores in Moscow showing five well-known political opposition figures and two space aliens — you know, basically referring to the ‘traitors among us.'"

He says there's now a website, where patriotic Russians can name traitors and describe how they are undermining Russia's interests. He also says there is heightened anti-Western and anti-American sentiment, "which I think everybody feels throughout this city."

Xenophobic Chill Descends on Moscow


Boris Y. Nemtsov, a longtime political opposition leader and a former deputy prime minister under Boris N. Yeltsin, who also appeared on the banner,wrote on Facebook that the situation seemed worse than during the Cold War. “In my opinion, even the Soviet Union wasn’t like this,” Mr. Nemtsov wrote.

Some of the language on Russian television in recent days has been far more charged than anything heard during Soviet times. One of the country’s most prominent television hosts, Dmitry K. Kiselyov, declared during an evening newscast last month that Russia remains “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive ash.”

An Update and Report on the Crisis and its Impact on the Church

In the Caucasus region, the FSB (federal security service) has increased their observation of Baptist churches in general. Thus far, no interference has been reported, but they are actively checking Baptist churches. In one region, authorities were even asking for the passports of visiting Western pastors, but of course Russian churches do not have such documents or information. In other regions across southern Russia, Baptist churches are encountering varying levels of problems. One pastor was called to the local prosecutor’s office and was questioned about Ukraine’s acting president. All local churches in the city are being checked, with demands for lists of church members and details about children’s ministries. The local pastoral leadership is deeply concerned, but they do not want to create panic.

Concerning Ukraine:
This situation is truly heartbreaking, especially considering that for so long, Ukraine had been the freest of all former Soviet republics for Gospel ministry. We must do all we can to stand with our brothers and sisters in their hour of trial. Please keep praying, and know that we will do our best to keep you informed. Please watch SGA’s website for updates, and also for further prayer alerts when warranted.

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