CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY taken over by Pro-Russian Separatists
It was my privilege to teach a summer English course at Donetsk Christian University in Ukraine. This University rose out of the ashes of the former Soviet Union. Now it seems that the life of a vibrant Christian University is being destroyed by the Pro-Russian Separatist Soldiers who have taken it over. The staff and students have fled. Dormitories are now the new home of the militants.
Kate Tracy writes in Christianity Today the following: “Pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine have reportedly taken over a Christian university in the major city of Donetsk and are using the university to house insurgents in preparation for battle. “They want to accommodate more soldiers, so that place becomes the number one target for the insurgency,” said Sergey Rakhuba, president of Peter Deyneka Russian Ministries and a former board member of the university. “If the Ukrainian army attacks, this Christian university would be destroyed.” Separatists attempting to gain control of the city are using Donetsk Christian University and Gloria Christian School for accommodations, Rakhuba told Mission Network News. Insurgents have also overtaken several other public buildings in the city. Around 20 staff members and their families were initially trapped inside the buildings but were then allowed to leave, Rakhuba said.
Rakhuba says he is concerned for the safety of campus buildings and people in the area during the predicted counterattack by the Ukrainian army. “This place could be turned into hell,” he said. “People are panicking.” Donetsk, whose 2012 population was just shy of 1 million, is not the only Ukrainian city facing a crisis situation. Rakhuba also reports that pro-Russian insurgents have set up strongholds in the cities of Kramatorsk and Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine, cutting off electricity and water supplies and leaving refugee support teams slammed with food delivery and response. “The scope of the trauma and tragedy in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk is beyond comprehension,” reports Rakhuba in a press release. “For the last several weeks, local residents have had no electricity and little food and fresh water.” Rebels since continued into the Donetsk region, retreating from Kramatorsk and Slavyansk as Ukrainian troops regained control. Meanwhile, families are fleeing Donetsk in the wake of the Ukrainian government’s announcement that it plans to reclaim the city, according to the BBC. Civilians and soldiers in the eastern Ukrainian industrial city are calm for now, but a battle is likely on the horizon, reports The Telegraph. The Guardian reports that Russian-speaking separatists declared the city a “People’s Republic” in late April.
Since pro-Russian militants seized control of the city, at least 423 people have died, and approximately 30,000 people have fled. The separatist conflict in Donetsk has become one of the worst in the former Soviet Union since 1991. ( as of July 11, 70,000 of the Donetsk’s 900,000 inhabitants have already fled as Kiev’s forces move within 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the city.) CT (Christianity Today) has covered the recent conflict in Ukraine, including how the country’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, is a former Baptist pastor, and how Russia blocked Americans from adopting children from Crimea. CT featured the clergy who took a literal stand in Ukraine’s protests, and how they held an all-night prayer vigil, hoping to prevent Russia’s invasion. CT also offered a 160-year Christian history behind the Ukrainian conflict and the Crimean Peninsula.”
Now all the good things here have ceased. Chaos and terrorism have taken over. Freedoms are gone and the people of Donetsk know that greater violence is probably on its way with blessings from Mother Russia. The Video below gives the history and information about Donetsk Christian University. It is a video made in 2008 describing the mission of Donetsk Christian University and the story of some of its graduates. To understand more about the impact this school and its graduates have had in Ukraine and around the world, it is worth a backward visit. Oxford University played a part in the curriculum development as well as Christians around the world who sat on boards and came to give of their teaching time to the young people of Ukraine. We pray that peace will be established and the University will gain again their property that is rightfully theirs.