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Faith under fire: Documenting Ukrainian Christians’ torture by Russian forces

Some Ukrainian Christians have undergone the harrowing experience of being tortured by Russian forces due to their faith. Azat, a Ukrainian Baptist pastor was captured and severely tortured by Russian soldiers. Others have suffered similar fates.

The Ukraine Freedom Project, launched by U.S. citizen Steven Moore in Kyiv, aims to document these stories of persecution. Moore and others urge Christians in the U.S. to pray for Ukraine and advocate for continued military aid to help protect these communities from further violence.

Baptist Standard reports:

Russian soldiers captured Azat, a Ukrainian Baptist pastor, on one of his many trips to deliver humanitarian aid to Mariupol as Russia ravaged the city in the early months of the war.

What Russian soldiers did to him over the next six weeks because of his Christian faith left him temporarily bedridden—one wound baring his leg bone, internal organs damaged, teeth knocked out, eardrums burst, he said in a video recounting the torture.

“I had a bag on my head and my hands were handcuffed to my legs. Electric wires were connected to my genitals. They beat me with batons, an iron pipe, a wooden stick,” Azat said. “They mocked me and asked me how I became a traitor to the faith of my fathers and grandfathers by becoming Baptist. I am a Baptist and for Russians, Baptists are American spies. They call us ‘foreign agents.’”

Read the full article here.

Azat tells his story on the website Moore’s ministry founded, RussiatorturesChristians.org

Key Points

  • Ukrainian Christians, including pastors, have been tortured by Russian forces, with attacks on their faith being a significant factor.
  • The Ukraine Freedom Project seeks to document and share these stories of persecution.
  • Advocates call for prayer and political support from Christians worldwide, especially in the U.S., to aid Ukraine against Russian aggression.
Theme Pros Cons
Documentation of Abuse Highlights the persecution, potentially leading to international action. Exposes victims and their families to further risks.
International Advocacy Raises awareness and could mobilize global support for Ukraine. Political complexities may hinder the effectiveness of advocacy efforts.
Faith and Resilience Demonstrates the strength and faith of the persecuted. Highlights the severe challenges and dangers faced by Christians in conflict zones.


Questions to Consider

  1. How can the international Christian community effectively support their fellow believers in Ukraine?
  2. What are the implications of religious persecution on global religious freedom?
  3. How can stories of persecution influence international policy and aid for Ukraine?

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