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Ukraine at War – Update 16, 2023

Dear Office, The Chaplain’s Ministry movement in
Ukraine began after Russia’s first invasion in 2014.
Following the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, there was an increased need for emotional and spiritual support among Ukrainian military personnel, who faced the
challenges of war and separation from their families.

In response to this need, the Chaplain’s Ministry began to take shape with the training and deployment of chaplains within the Ukrainian armed forces for the first time in Ukraine’s history.
One of HART’s partner pastors was the driving force of this new movement. Pastor Valerie, formerly a colonel in the Air Force, had a vision for the chaplain ministry in Ukraine long before the 2014 conflict.

We have partnered with this movement since 2015 and have coordinated two PTSD conferences for Ukrainian Chaplains in cooperation with The Billy Graham Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

[Above] A Chaplain of the 37th Marine Brigade anointing soldiers after a service and prayer in southern Ukraine.

Chaplains play a crucial role in offering spiritual guidance, councelling, and pastoral care to soldiers on the front lines. They organize religious services, provide prayer support, and offer a compassionate presence during combat and in military hospitals.

Chaplains Conference

YOUR GIFT will allow us to
continue to support and grow
this vital ministry in Ukraine.

These courageous, selfless Christians voluntarily go into harm’s way to bring the message of salvation and God’s love to young men who could die at any time. Please pray for the protection and safety of all these chaplains.

Education Scholarship Fund – MATCH!!

Education is the single most effective way to reduce poverty, suffering, inequality, and injustice.

The HART Education Scholarship Fund was created to support economically disadvantaged youth in Ukraine to pursue higher education. It is one of the ways we can invest in the future of Ukraine by nurturing a new generation of conscientious, well-educated leaders with strong Christian values that will one day transform their communities and country.

This program is all about helping young people eventually find employment, achieve financial independence, and bring their families out of poverty.

We have hundreds of good reasons for you to support this Education program – Andriy is just one of them. He is an excellent example of what we are trying to achieve through these scholarships. Andriy received a HART scholarship, finished his university training, has a young family, leads a ministry in his church, and has been able to assist his family financially. In this video, Andriy describes the importance of this scholarship fund.

Our Scholarship budget this year exceeds $100,000, and we’ve recently initiated the distribution of tuition funds to students whose applications have been approved for the 2023-24 academic year. Please consider offering your support, both financially and through your prayers, to assist these young people in obtaining the education they passionately desire. Your contribution can help them realize their dreams and positively impact their world.

Thanks to your donations…

We have been able to send trucks into newly de-occupied villages and provide food and water to the citizens still living there.

Amidst utter devastation on the frontlines, people are baking bread for their community. Your contributions were allocated for generators, ovens and baking supplies.

Thousands of children and youth had the privilege of attending summer camp programs because of your support.

Big thanks from Ukrainian soldiers to all HART supporters for providing them with first aid kits, which save lives every day!

Because of your generosity, we purchased over 15 ambulances to provide emergency medical care for civilians and soldiers in war zones. These mobile medical clinics are saving lives every day.

Thanks to your help we are buying construction materials for church work teams who are repairing damaged homes of people in their communities.

VIDEO: Here is how YOU helped the Kherson region damaged by the destruction of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam

YOUR SUPPORT empowers and equips national churches, like the Calvary Church of Kherson, to be Christ’s hands and feet throughout this terrible war.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support!


Residents rejoicing in their freedom following the liberation by Ukrainian soldiers from Russian control.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, talks about the plight of Ukrainian children during this war.
President Zelensky paying tribute to the spouse and children of a soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war.

Putin’s War on Ukraine: A Recap

This commentary explores how the prevailing storylines throughout this conflict have been evolving since the invasion began on February 24, 2022.
Here’s a look at several of these distinct phases:

First, from the early days, the narrative appeared to be around the idea that a Russian victory was inevitable within days/weeks.

Second, months in, and the realization that the plucky Ukrainian defenders could resist for some time but were still ultimately vulnerable/doomed to defeat as Putin went through the gears and was prepared to cross red lines (Weapons of Mass Destruction – WMDs). The idea was still that he wanted Ukraine more than the West and was prepared to win the escalation battle.

Third, to a realization, or relief, that Putin had limits and was not prepared to use means that ultimately would get him into a direct fight with NATO or annoy the Chinese, with WMD, etc. The realization was that Putin had limits and that the West could push him by going through the gears of supplying ever more sophisticated military weapons without the risk of escalation to NATO.

Fourth, the period last autumn when Ukraine achieved major counteroffensive victories in Khakhiv and Kherson and the realization then that Western weapons could eventually lead to Ukraine’s victory.

Fifth, then to the hard slog of Bakhmut, Russia’s offensive against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, and the play for more time to allow those Western weapons and training to come so that the spring counteroffensive could eventually deliver.

Sixth, the great expectation was then placed on the Spring Offensive and hope that Russian forces could collapse quickly under pressure from better motivated and trained Ukrainian troops equipped with better Western weapons.

Seventh, a brief interlude of the days around the Wagner mutiny and hope that this could also see a speedy disintegration of Russian forces in Ukraine. Ultimately, the killing of Prigozhin by the vengeful Kremlin mafia boss was expected, but it is hard to say what the implications of this latest manifestation of his ruthlessness are.

Eighth, growing disappointment and a realization that given delays in securing Western arms for Ukraine, Russia was given enough time to build a formidable system of defenses in Eastern Ukraine to slow/halt the Spring Offensive. The latter has been dominant up to a few weeks ago, and perhaps a malaise set in that Ukraine could not break the land bridge in southern Ukraine, with some arguing that to prevent a long war, Ukraine had to concede ground – quite literally – in peace talks with Russia.

The criticism here seemed leveled at Ukraine and Ukrainian commanders for not doing enough to retake the initiative. The view seemed to be that Russia had retaken the advantage and could wear Ukraine down and out-wait it.

Ninth, a new phase is emerging that, with some gains, however modest, on the battlefield around Robotnye, envigorates a Ukrainian push to the strategic rail-way hub at Tokmak, which could leave the land corridor to Crimea vulnerable.

However, the current prevailing thought suggests that the counteroffensive still has time and doesn’t necessarily require the complete expulsion of Russian forces from Ukraine. But by strategically positioning themselves within striking distance of the land corridor and destabilizing both it and Crimea, this could constitute a significant victory and position them favorably for the end game, whether that entails ongoing conflict or negotiations.

A noteworthy aspect of this phase is Ukraine’s strategic shift towards bringing the war back home to Mother Russia itself. It’s trying to push back on the idea that time is on Russia’s side, and Ukraine is demonstrating that it can make life very difficult for Russia, Russians, and Putin.

And, with attacks in Crimea, the land corridor and the Kerch bridge, and Russian shipping in the Black Sea coming under attack – the clear message is that while the invasion was partially sold as an effort to improve Russian security, it has made Crimea and Russia less secure for Russian forces/citizens. And it will only get worse as long as this invasion continues.

The tenth phase remains uncertain. The conflict has three potential outcomes: a stalemate, a victory for Ukraine, or a victory for Russia. Currently, a successful advance by Ukrainian forces in the southern region could either lead to a significant escalation of the conflict or potentially bring it to an end. Let us hope and pray that this war concludes sooner rather than later, paving the way for the next phase: Ukraine’s recovery and the nation’s reconstruction.

Here are specific prayer points that can help guide our prayers for the situation in Ukraine. Please share these with your friends and family:

  1. Pray for the physical protection and provision for Ukrainian children in harm’s way. Supernaturally and otherwise, minimize the suffering and loss of life. Pray for children who see things no child’s eye should ever see. Jesus, you are a great King and healer. By whatever means you choose — loving parents, a direct work of the Holy Spirit, fellow believers… protect children’s hearts, minds, and imagination.
  2. Pray for and ask to see God’s glory amid this great struggle. Pray that He would be glorified through the Christians in Ukraine who are being his hands and feet during this tragedy.
  3. Pray for God’s peace to strengthen and encourage the thousands of Ukrainian workers/volunteers serving refugees and the poor in their communities, who need to hear of God’s love for them through these Christian workers.
  4. Pray for God’s protection for soldiers and civilians caught up in this conflict.
  5. Pray for the residents of cities and towns who are under heavy shelling and have lost their heat, lights, and water.
  6. Pray for the civilian and military prisoners of war who are subject to torture and death at the hands of their captors.
  7. Ask God to comfort the many families that have lost mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters during this Russian invasion.
    The pain and heartache are overwhelming for most families.
  8. Pray for the frustration of all evil plans of the enemy.
  9. Ask God to intervene. Pray for wisdom for world leaders. Pray God would move in their hearts and guide their steps and plans to end this war.
  10. Pray for the President (Zelensky) and the leaders of Ukraine to know God’s truth and peace and be transformed by his Holy Spirit so that they would seek to lead their country in the way of peace.
  11. Ask that this conflict would open doors of opportunities for the gospel. Pray that He would make his name known across Ukraine, Russia, and all the European countries refugees are fleeing to due to this conflict.