COUNTDOWN TO CATASTROPHE: Biden warns of Putin's plans to invade Ukraine this week, seize Kyiv — I ask you to pray urgently for peace
As Kremlin masses 190,000 troops on Ukrainian border, Ukraine criticizes lack of Israeli support
JERUSALEM—As much as I want you to keep praying for the peace of Jerusalem, I ask Evangelical leaders and lay people all over the world to pray urgently for peace in Europe.
Pray that the Lord supernaturally stops the evil ambitions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Pray that the Lord protects the people of Ukraine.
Pray that the Lord grants great courage to Christians in Ukraine to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ — the message of forgiveness and eternal life and true hope — to their countrymen in this darkest hour.
Please pray, too, for the protection of the Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — who fear that Putin is soon coming after them when he is finished illegally occupying Ukraine.
“MASSIVE NUCLEAR EXERCISES”
Despite the Kremlin’s insistence that it has no designs on Ukraine, Putin has massed upwards of 190,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, along with tanks and artillery units.
On Saturday, Putin personally oversaw what the Associated Press described as “massive drills of its strategic nuclear forces” which will involve “multiple practice launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.”
Deputy Ukrainian Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova lamented a “lack of political support” from Israel during the crisis with Russia, the Times of Israel reported.
Dzhaparova told Israel’s Channel 12 on Friday that Ukraine understands “sensitivities with Iran, with Syria, that you need to balance with Russia with regards to your interests,” the Times of Israel noted.
“We also think that there is this lack of support, lack of political support” from Jerusalem, she said.
On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden warned that the invasion would take place this coming week.
“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week — in the coming days,” Biden said at a White House news conference.
“We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people.”
Biden described “a major uptick in violations of the ceasefire by Russian-backed fighters attempting to provoke Ukraine in the Donbas” in recent days, including “shelling of a Ukrainian kindergarten yesterday, which Russia has falsely asserted was carried out by Ukraine.”
“We also continue to see more and more disinformation being pushed out by — to the Russian public, including the Russian-backed separatists.”
Biden was specifically asked by a reporter, “Do you have any indication about whether President Putin has made a decision on whether to invade?”
“As of this moment, I’m convinced that he has made the decision,” Biden replied. “We have reason to believe that.”
Excerpts from Biden’s remarks, directly from the official White House transcript:
We’re calling out Russia’s plans loudly and repeatedly, not because we want a conflict, but because we’re doing everything in our power to remove any reason that Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine and prevent them from moving.
Make no mistake: If Russia pursues its plans, it will be responsible for a catastrophic and needless war of choice. The United States and our Allies are prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory from any threat to our collective security as well.
We also will not send troops in to fight in Ukraine, but we will continue to support the Ukrainian people.
This past year, the United States provided a record amount of security assistance to Ukraine to bolster its defensive — $650 million, from Javelin missiles to ammunition.
And we also previously provided $500 million in humanitarian aid and economic support for Ukraine. And earlier this week, we also announced an additional sovereign loan guarantee of up to $1 billion to strengthen Ukraine’s economic resilience.
But the bottom line is this: The United States and our Allies and partners will support the Ukrainian people. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions. The West is united and resolved. We’re ready to impose severe sanctions on Russia if it further invades Ukraine.
But I say again: Russia can still choose diplomacy. It is not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.