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Cathedral in the mountains of Crimea
Pray for believers caught in the midst of the turmoil.

Several recently occurring incidents have led to charges against citizens of Russian-occupied Crimea. In a report published on July 5th, Forum 18 outlines several instances of harassment against Christians and Muslims, demonstrating the oppressive control that Russia is forcing upon people living within areas of the peninsula.

Cases involving three Baptists – S. Gerasimenko, P. Shokha and L. Shokha – were handed over to the Saki district court on July 1st on charges of "missionary activity." No date has yet been set for their hearings. Several Muslim leaders have also been fined for leading Friday prayers.

Earlier this year, in February, Liana Palyokha was found guilty of leading a Pentecostal group without informing the Russian authorities. Three others were arrested around the same time for handing out religious leaflets outside a shopping centre in Kerch. Thankfully, the case against these three Christians was dismissed in mid-May.

Russia seized control of the autonomous republic of Crimea in 2014 – an action that was widely condemned internationally. The large majority of countries consider this territory to be part of Ukraine. Since the annexation, United Nations human rights investigators have catalogued numerous violations against freedom of thought, conscience and religion. To read more about the challenges experienced by Christians residing in the Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine, go to our list of reports.

Prayerfully remember those who are presently facing trial for endeavouring to share their faith in Jesus with others of their communities. May these accused Christians stand firm in what they believe, receiving the strength and courage they require – as did Peter and other apostles of the New Testament – to "obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Additionally, pray that there will be a peaceful resolution to the ongoing political conflict in Ukraine, so that any further threat of destruction and potential loss of life will come to an end.