Visiting Ukrainians plea for help from Christian Churches for th - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Visiting Ukrainians plea for help from Christian Churches for theirs

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Valery Antoniuk (left) and Sergei Omelchenko (right) spoke with WDRB News Friday Valery Antoniuk (left) and Sergei Omelchenko (right) spoke with WDRB News Friday

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two men from Ukraine now visiting Louisville hope yesterday's tragedy helps to put an end to the misery thousands in their country are dealing with.

Valery Antoniuk and Sergei Omelchenko spoke with WDRB News Friday about their country and what they say people don’t realize.

“This is one of the great tragedies we have today in Ukraine, and the whole world is watching it.” Antoniuk said through Omelchenko as his interpreter.

The tragedy they're referring to is what's been happening in Ukraine for months.

Antoniuk heads the Union of Christian Baptist Churches, Ukraine's biggest group of evangelical churches with 2800 congregations.

But he says Russian separatists, right now, are on a mission to crush anyone not a part of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“5 pastors have been killed.” He said, “Many ministers have been arrested and kidnapped and held prisoner for several months.”

The men say the situation has created some 50,000 refugees in desperate need of help.

“Many people lost their homes, their homes are destroyed.” Antoniuk said, “People need clothing, people need food. Banks are not working in those areas. There is no running water. There is no electricity.”

The men say Christian churches have been taking in these refugees, but much more help is needed. That's why they're in the U.S., they are pleading with Christian Churches here to come to the rescue.

They also say they hope yesterday's plane crash spurs the world to take notice, and for the injustice in Ukraine to end.

“They were shooting our airplanes down, terrorists did.” They said, “But, we never thought they would be shooting international civilian flights.”

The two say, until the recent unrest Ukraine had been one of the world's freest and most peaceful countries since the fall of the Soviet Union 25 years ago.

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