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Christians in Ukraine are praying fervently for their country as moves are taken in a special session of parliament to defuse escalating confrontations between the government and protesters.

Alexander Chmut, director of TWR Ukraine, indicated in an email message Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, that he would welcome focused prayer by TWR staff and supporters around the world on behalf of the former Soviet republic.

“The Ukrainian evangelical churches are united in an around-the-clock intercessory prayer vigil for our country,” Chmut wrote when contacted by representatives of TWR Europe. “… Thank you for your prayer support for our country.”

As the special session of parliament began Tuesday, Jan. 28, the prime minister submitted his resignation in an effort to ease tensions, and legislators voted to repeal recently imposed anti-protest laws. The day before, a European Union official had warned that declaring a state of emergency, which had been threatened by the Ukrainian justice minister, could cause a downward spiral in the tense situation. Chmut also expressed concerns about the consequences of a state of emergency.

“The present circumstances in the country are also influencing the financial situation,” he said. “The U.S. dollar and euro exchange rates have made significant jumps. People are buying all kinds of groceries and supplies. Panic is not far away.”

The protesters, who have been calling for closer ties with Europe and the end to the recent civil-rights restrictions, are challenging the government, whose leader has moved to align Ukraine with its next-door neighbor, Russia.  

A wide variety of programs is broadcast by TWR to Ukraine listeners in both the Ukrainian and Russian languages. Programs produced by TWR Ukraine include Man and Eternity, Forum (for teens) and The Little Spring (for children).

With the political situation in the capital of Kiev and elsewhere in the country changing on a daily basis, Chmut said TWR Ukraine’s programming, recorded in advance for later airing, hasn’t been able to address recent developments. Besides, TWR historically has declined to get involved in sensitive political issues, focusing instead on people’s personal and spiritual needs.

“To comment or give our reaction on what is happening is rather complicated,” Chmut wrote. "Someone said they have the impression the current scenario in the Ukraine has been created and written somewhere else. Everything is happening so fast it is difficult to keep up with it.”

(Photo above: A protester wears a gas mask during clashes between interior troops and demonstrators in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo by Mstyslav Chernov. )