Please do not forget about Ukraine…

With every new war or disaster, the media steers our attention away from the previous one. Yet, the enduring effects of war and displacement persist unchanged; suffering and displacement continues but the media focuses on chasing fresh stories in the pursuit of captivating their audience. 

In 2023, the global community rallied to provide humanitarian aid to over 11 million people in Ukraine. However, aid agencies have faced significant challenges in reaching areas under Russian control, particularly near the front lines where the need is most acute.

More than 4 million people remain internally displaced within Ukraine, and this prolonged displacement has pushed many into severe poverty, draining their resources and ability to cope with the crisis.

Martin Griffiths, the UN Aid chief for Ukraine, pleaded with diplomats in Geneva not to overlook Ukraine amidst the countless other emergencies competing for attention worldwide.

Despite this appeal, humanitarian funding to Ukraine was reduced in 2024 as agencies shifted focus to other pressing conflicts, such as those in Gaza and Sudan. This reallocation of resources does not suggest an improvement in the situation for displaced Ukrainians.

Two years into the conflict, it is crucial to remember that while aid agencies respond to the needs of the people depending on global funding, local communities, particularly local churches, are often left to bear the burden.

We had recent involvement with a Ukrainian Church leader “Sergius” as we facilitated his visa application to Australia from Crimea. It brought our attention to the suffering Church in the region, fading away from the world’s attention as the focus is redirected toward other global events.

Sergius, a former pastor from Crimea, faced enormous challenges following Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014. Financial and logistical hurdles limited his ability to support the displaced church community. His opposition to the occupation left him in constant fear of eviction or imprisonment.

Sergius recounted a harrowing experience when a massive attack targeted the Feodosia oil base, located just 700 meters from his home. The explosions shook his family to the core, with his children seeking refuge in a bomb shelter. The mental toll on the children was severe, they spent days in constant fear and stress, an immeasurable burden.

Since the occupation, any disagreement with the Russian regime in Crimea has been ruthlessly suppressed by authorities. Those who dare to speak out against the occupation face enforced disappearances, false charges, or worse.

For Sergius and his family, fleeing the country became the only option, and they were fortunate to arrive in Australia. We appreciate your prayers for their safety and protection visa application in Australia, where his children can attend school without the looming threat of violence and oppression and where they can truly experience freedom.

Philoi Global visited Poland in 2022 to engage with churches and partners, initiating active efforts to investigate resettlement opportunities for Ukrainian refugees. Since the start of the war, Australia has granted over 11,000 visas to Ukrainians. We acknowledge the challenges with resettling in Australia, including language barriers, skill-job mismatches, and soaring housing costs for refugees settling in Australia. We strongly believe the Australian church has been strategically positioned to respond.