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Priest 'torture' claims in Eastern Ukraine

by Desmond Busteed

UK charity Mission Without Borders (MWB) claims seven priests have been murdered since the start of unrest in Donetsk and Luhansk, which evolved into a war between the post-revolutionary Ukrainian government and pro-Russian insurgents in 2014.

"Around 10 churches have been ruined or set fire to because they are only letting the Russian Orthodox Church to be permitted for people to worship there, and other Christian denominations are actually being quite heavily targeted and persecuted," said Carly Jones, national manager, Mission Without Borders.

The charity says the local Christian community has responded by demonstrating increased faith; gathering to worship in neighbours' homes and abandoned buildings.

The UN's latest figures show 1.3 million Ukrainians are internally displaced and more than 5 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.

Mission Without Borders says its locally staffed office in Ukraine has sent several truckloads of aid to communities affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

The charity has also provided key assistance to Luhansk Regional Hospital, delivering much needed medical beds, mattresses and hygiene items.

MWB is also working in partnership with local churches, government agencies and partner NGOs across Ukraine to help refugees meet their basic needs. The charity says it has also made special provisions for rehabilitation and counselling services for children experiencing trauma.

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