In 71 years on from D day we focused on just a few of the “new” dangers facing the world, highlighting that the breakdown of the Soviet Union has led to a great deal of discord and fragmentation rather to stable new nations emerging. In this edition we would like to focus on a tiny snippet of land called Transnistria that represents another serious potential flashpoint.
Where? Transnistria! Not a single nation in the UN recognises this as a country in its own right, but it is a self-governing province that is, or was, part of Moldova, but which declared independence from Russia in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to Der Spiegel Moldova and Ukraine reluctantly agreed to permit just over 1000 Russian soldiers to act as peacekeepers there until recently, when Kiev revoked the right of these Russian soldiers to travel through Transnistria.
This has infuriated Russia, which has again ramped its huge propaganda machine into overdrive and is making incredible claims that Ukrainian troops are “massing at the border,” poised to destroy Tiraspol, (the capital of Transnistria) and to set up the EU flag there.
The Frankfurter Rundschau warns that the Minsk peace deal between Moscow and Kiev is now “bleeding to death” since the surprise attack against the Ukrainian town of Marinka a few weeks ago. Russian military officials are now talking openly not just of defending Transnistria but of marching on into Kiev. The danger is that people begin to act in accordance with their propaganda. The situation remains highly volatile, as witnessed by a recent exercise in which 33,000 Russian troops practised a simultaneous invasion of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, allowing Russia to seal off the Baltic and isolate Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. See: Russian forces practised simultaneous invasion of Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden.
In June last year, Russian jets simulated a nuclear attack on Bornholm, timed to coincide with an annual festival on the Danish island involving the country’s entire political leadership and 90,000 guests. Had the attack actually taken place, Denmark would have been destroyed.
To say the least, these are alarming reminders of the comment made earlier this year by Dalia Grybauskaite, the President of Lithuania, that Russia was “practically at war with Europe”. We should definitely take this as a call to pray.
Stepan and Nadia Germanov – missionaries of – “To All Nations” write:
People are leaving the impoverished country to look for work abroad . . .The kids in Transnistria are left alone. They need our help . . .
The Lord blessed us and we are honored, to do ministry in this beautiful region on the banks of the Dniester. Until now, the whole territory of Transnistria has posts of peacekeeping forces.
Factories in the region are not working. Therefore, the majority of the working population has to look for work outside the country. The children of these families are with their grandmothers, and quite often are left with their neighbours. Parents spend years abroad and lose contact with children. The problem is further compounded by the fact that many are losing their jobs abroad and return home, but their family has already fallen apart.
We as the church are trying to help these people. We speak with them, take their children to summer camps and offer family counseling. In our region, we have many boarding schools for children. The divorce rate is very high, parents are often deprived of parental rights, because of drug and alcohol use.
Thus, children are also turning to alcohol and drugs. They might run away from home at a very young age to never come back again. Others are dying of AIDS and drug overdoses.
Our goal is to give these little hearts help and show kindness. Some of the members of our church take orphans for a weekend into their home. We want the children to see a different way of life. We can not alleviate all the problems but at least we can do something to help.
We try to make regular charitable dinners for widows and elderly people. Approximately 60 people receive food packages for the amount of 20 dollars each. We plan to build a dining room and Sunday school, to feed the homeless children who live in the sewer systems and basements.
In our city there are three prisons, one of them is high security detention facility. In each of the prisons we have a church where we hold weekly services. We work with the families of inmates and their children who are in need of financial assistance in the absence of a breadwinner. NewFields.org
Further Links to Transnistria