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SGA Prayer Alert: Battle Rages in Mariupol, Ukraine

Partners in the Gospel,

I am writing today to ask you to join us in prayer as renewed fighting has broken out in Ukraine—this time in the port city of Mariupol near the Black Sea coast. According to the BBC, the AP and other media, police in Mariupol, at least 29 people have been killed thus far and dozens injured in rocket attacks by pro-Russian rebels.

The local police chief was quoted as saying that Grad rockets hit a market in a residential eastern area. Meanwhile, Alexander Zakharchenko, the main rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, said an offensive against Mariupol had begun. He also said that he did not want truce talks with the central government in Kiev. The militants have already have seized a large swath of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and more than a million people have been displaced.

Mariupol has a population of 500,000 and was the scene of very heavy fighting last August. The BBC correspondent on the ground in Ukraine, David Stern, reports that the fighting is beginning to approach what was seen last summer.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine has shattered the lives of many, and has resulted in thousands of refugees.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine has shattered the lives of many, and has resulted in thousands of refugees.

These reports conflict with those published by the Interfax news agency in Russia. They quoted the defense ministry of the rebel Donetsk People’s Republic as denying involvement, and that “Rebel forces did not open any fire in the direction of Mariupol, especially not on residential areas.” Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, sent a message out on Twitter, saying “Today’s indiscriminate shelling of Mariupol is part of an apparently Russian-backed general offensive in complete violation of Minsk agreements.” The United States, Russia, France, and Germany have all issued calls for the fighting to stop.

It breaks our hearts to see this renewal of violence and bloodshed. Please join the SGA family in intercession, asking the Lord to intervene and to bring peace. Pray as well for the missionary pastors and church teams distributing Bibles, evangelistic literature, food, clothing, and other humanitarian aid made possible through SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund.

Thank you in advance for praying. We will post updates as warranted on SGA’s website.

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