By C.D. Gentry
Since 1994 I have had the honor and privilege of making 21 trips to minister to the people of Ukraine and will be returning to the capital Kiev for a week July 8.
The Ukranians deserve admiration and respect. They have embraced freedom for all it is worth, having lived under communist oppression for 72 years before the Iron Curtain collapsed in 1990.
More than anything, I want their cries for peace and unity to be heard. Instead you rarely see or read anything that is not Russian propaganda. The news media are providing little information about the viciousness and aggressive tactics being utilized by President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
Although I had to postpone a trip earlier this year due to the Russian takeover of Crimea and the unrest in Ukraine's eastern and southeastern regions, I have maintained contact with many people in Ukraine through Sykpe, Facebook and email.
I recently learned that there is much concern about a helicopter navigator, Lt. Nadija (Hope) Svachenkol, 33, who was captured while attempting to save wounded Ukranian soldiers in an area that's under attack by the Russian-armed and financed terrorists.
Even with the newly elected Ukranian president's seven-day cease fire in the eastern regions, Russian T-64 and T-72 tanks, rocket launchers and other war materials continue to cross the border from Russia into Ukraine. Captured terrorists have openly admitted under interrogation that they are being paid $300 a day to cause unrest and make war against those who support the government in Kiev. They can also receive a bounty of $1,000 for each Ukrainian soldier they kill.
Innocent men, women and children are suffering in cities like Slovyansk, where there is no running water due to the water station having been taken over by pro-Russian forces. These terrorist groups are led by Russian military and secret police and are determined to bring these cities under the complete rule of Moscow. Today, many pro-Russian citizens of Ukraine who live in these terrorized cities are rising up and attempting to drive the terrorists out of their strongholds, as they now realize that life was peace and freedom before these barbarians arrived.
There was a time not long ago when the United Sates was pro-democracy, but more important, we were defenders of democracy. Times have changed. Ukraine is trying to maintain the freedom and democracy it has experienced since independence from Russia in 1991. The problem is, Ukraine is seemingly on its own in these efforts.
This is very sad; what is taking place in Ukraine today is reminiscent of 1938 when Hitler decided to invade other European nations.
Today, the world is focused on Iraq and Syria and the newly formed terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. This is a religious war, ongoing for centuries, with seemingly no end in sight.
However, the maintaining of a free people, who are being provoked into war by an aggressive force under the control of Russia's leader, is a prime reason for the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Nations and NATO to render any and all aid to the innocent.
The voices of Ukraine need never be silenced. Freedom should be allowed to ring throughout the land once defined as the breadbasket of Europe.
C.D. Gentry of Lexington is an evangelist.