Column from Ukraine: Fighting and believing with as much strength as us is given


Christian Life

Oleksii Blyzniuk

A local resident is seen on an inflatable mattress in a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023, following the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam. Photo AFP, Olexander Kornyakov

The home town of columnist Oleksii Blyzniuk was severely damaged by the flooding after the Kakhovka Dam was destroyed. How does he deal with that? "This war is not just another geopolitical conflict but also another episode of God's history, in which He continues to work in the hearts of millions of people."

More than a month has passed since the occupiers blew up the Kakhovka HES dam in Ukraine on June 6, 2023. This news shook almost the entire civilized world because of the level of disaster that was caused by the rashists (as Ukrainians sometimes call the Russians, ed.). This terrorist attack showed once again that the occupiers are absolutely not interested in preserving the infrastructure and the way of life of people in the occupied territories. They are interested in the very fact that this or that territory on paper has been added to the "empire", even if this territory is burned to the ground by fire, mutilated by shrapnel, completely mined, or flooded with millions of tons of water after a dam is blown up.

Personal pain

For me personally and for my family, this terrorist attack is especially painful because, as a result of the flooding, my native city of Hola Prystan, which is now also under occupation, suffered a lot. This city is located 20 km from Tavriyske, the village where I grew up and where my parents lived until the war started.

Photo Oleksii Blyzniuk

After studying at a theological seminary in the Netherlands (Kampen) in 2019, my wife and I returned to Ukraine, and until 2021 we lived in Hola Prystan, where we were engaged in founding a new Reformed community. I know well every corner of this small picturesque town, and it adds even more pain when I once again see new photos on the Internet of the extent of the destruction of the city's infrastructure after the flood. In most regions, the water receded after flooding in about a week. However, in the central and some other parts of Hola Prystan (due to the peculiarities of the geographical location of the city), even today, there is still water up to one meter deep.

A long-term problem

In principle, everything can be rebuilt over time, and even such a catastrophe can be survived. However, this situation is complicated by the fact that the powerful flow of water destroyed not only the infrastructure of cities and towns but also several lines of defence of the occupiers. Water flooded dozens and hundreds of kilometres of enemy trenches, in which hundreds of tons of artillery shells and various types of bombs were hidden.

In addition, in anticipation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the occupiers diligently prepared several lines of minefields. After the dam was blown, the water washed away large parts of these minefields and scattered thousands of mines over the territory in its chaotic course so that now, after the water receded, many mines are everywhere in the mud, just under the people's feet. The reader may think that this is an exaggeration, but taking into account the colossal number of explosives and mines that both the military and analysts are talking about, the picture described above resembles the truth.

Recently, by the way, the Washington Post published an interesting analysis on the scale of mining in Ukrainian territories. It was not surprising that the authors call Ukraine the most mined country in the world today. The article says that currently, the area of mined territory is larger than the state of Florida.

Photo Oleksii Blyzniuk

If we translate these data into figures that are more understandable for the reader, then the mined area is approximately 174,000 square kilometres. This is more than four times the size of the Netherlands. However, the predictions about how long it will take for complete demining were really shocking. The authors of the article come to the conclusion that even if 500 teams of sappers are constantly engaged in demining, it will take 757 years to completely clear the territory! Of course, these calculations are made taking into account today's technologies. I hope that with the development of technology in the future, this time will be significantly reduced. However, it is still decades.

The war is not over yet

In addition, the war is still far from over, and there are still about a dozen other hydro and hydro-nuclear power plants in Ukraine, which can also become the object of attacks by the Russians. It should also not be forgotten that the explosion of the Kakhovka HES also negatively affected the largest in Europe (and the third largest in the world) nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, which is currently also under occupation and completely mined by the enemy. After the explosion of the Kakhovka dam, I do not think that it is worth counting on any wisdom or foresight regarding the consequences of their actions on the part of the rashists. At any moment, when it is convenient for them, they will blow up this nuclear station and blame the Ukrainian side.

Photo Oleksii Blyzniuk

And the Kremlin propaganda machine will do its job. Yes, its propaganda works, and it does so effectively. This is confirmed by the fact that despite numerous evidences and confessions of the occupiers themselves that it was they who blew up the dam (they planned a controlled blow-up, but something went wrong), their propaganda blamed the Ukrainian side for everything. And the Russian people still sincerely believe that the Ukrainian government is so weak that it is able to blow up its own dams, destroy its own cities and villages, and thus deliberately hinder the counteroffensive of its own army. Only one question: for what? But this question probably requires too high a level of critical thinking, which is why the Russian people do not ask it but continue to blindly believe the propaganda, which without any remorse, calls black white and vice versa.

We trust in the Lord and carry on

Be that as it may, our people continue to fight for their own freedom. For my part, I will add that after such tragic episodes, it really becomes very difficult psychologically. And the only thing that gives peace and hope in such chaos is the realization that all the turns of history, no matter how painful they are, happen according to God's providence. Therefore, this war is not just another geopolitical conflict but also another episode of God's history, in which He continues to work in the hearts of millions of people. And we continue to stand, fight and believe, living on land strewn with minefields and fired by enemy rockets. How long? As long as needed! With as much strength as God will give us.



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