Baptists and Other Religious Minorities Face Persecution in Russian - Occupied Ukraine

Country: Ukraine

Date of incident: April 13, 2022

As predicted, religious minorities have experienced increasing persecution in the Russian occupied areas of Ukraine. According to reports, Baptists seemed to be especially targeted by Russian forces. Elijah Brown, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, said that in his most recent visit to Ukraine, he was informed that "Baptist leaders needed to evacuate as the security officers had credible information that the invaders intentionally intended to target Baptist pastors in those areas."

Brown added, “Since 2014, the situation facing that of religious minorities, including Baptists in the occupied territories, has been horrific. In the last few years, the Baptist hymnal was outlawed as extremist material. Baptist churches in the occupied territories were outlawed and were declared to be ‘a terrorist organization,’ as was the Baptist Union of Ukraine. We’ve heard from pastors in those already occupied territories who were beaten and abused. I remember the pastor who told me when I visited that ‘the persecution we are facing today is worse than anything we lived through during the time of communism.’”

Several pastors have been abducted or killed by Russian forces and around 50 religious buildings have been destroyed in Ukaine. Baptists, who have made significant efforts to help those without food, water, or shelter, have in doing so put themselves in harms way and been killed. 

One Baptist leader from Mariupol said "I beg you, pray for us."

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