Open letter on the Ukraine crisis


05 February 2015


For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself. ”If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh

Galatians 5:14-16


Dear friends in Christ primarily in North America:


We Baptists of Russia are deeply concerned about recent developments on Ukraine. Stakes and possible costs are soaring; the military struggle is intensifying. The USA’s “Freedom Support Act” signed on 18 December can bring with it a serious military escalation. It appears to give hardline-thinkers a green light. The general US-elections of 4 November leave the impression that the US-American populace is becoming more aggressive. It pains us that many of these voters are Christian.


The science of diplomacy and the strategy of winning hearts and minds are falling by the wayside. But Middle Eastern terrorism cannot be eliminated with drones and rockets. As we see in Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere, the killing of several innocent or militant persons can easily spawn the creation of 30 more anti-Western individuals. The West must win hearts and minds, and that can only be achieved with peaceful means. Only goodness will win the hearts of others.


We want to partner with are brothers and sisters in the West and in Ukraine to call for a negotiated, diplomatic settlement to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. This conflict cannot be solved with violence. Both NATO and Russia are too strong to be defeated by military means. Or, to put it another way: The costs of a military “solution” are way too high for any side to pay.


We want peace now; hard compromises must be accepted. We plead with you in the West and Ukraine to struggle jointly with us Russian Baptists for the cause of a negotiated settlement. That joint effort is much more important than our personal convictions on political details.


Dear readers: Please let us hear from you. How can we better and more effectively cooperate for the cause of peace? How can we better make clear that a negotiated settlement is the only way to peace? What could we do jointly?


Russian society too is far from perfect. Pray for us.


Rev. Vitaly Vlasenko,

Director, Dept. for External Church Affairs, RUECB

Moscow, 05 February 2015


This is an official statement from the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, Office for External Church Relations. This release may be reprinted free-of-charge if the source is cited. Release #15-02, 380 words.