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As Hundreds of Thousands of Refugees Flee War-Torn Ukraine, Christian Community Rallies to Their Aid

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LVIV, Ukraine - A heart-wrenching, humanitarian crisis is brewing in western Ukraine where more than 700,000 people have fled to neighboring nations.

As many of them pass through the city of Lviv, Christians here are stepping in to help, making sacrifices to assist these refugees as they escape the Russian invasion.

Some husbands here are being forced to say goodbye as their families flee to safety. Pavlo Bilodid watched as his wife and two-year-old daughter Maria boarded a bus in Lviv bound for Poland.

"It's terrible because, because, it was so unexpected, and nobody was prepared for this situation," Bilodid told CBN News. 

Donate to OPERATION BLESSING Relief Efforts in Poland and Ukraine

So many refugees are arriving here at the Lviv train depot in the western part of Ukraine, coming with just a suitcase or a duffle bag. Ukrainian men are now reportedly not allowed to board the trains from Kyiv to Lviv. Anybody between the ages of 18 and 60 is not supposed to get on the train because the government says they need them. They need them to fight.

"We're staying here, and we have to volunteer and we will do here what we can do here in Lviv," Bilodid, a Kyiv resident said.  

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Not far from Lviv's main train station, three women who escaped the fighting this week, and never knew each other before this moment, found shelter in Anastasia Mochar's tiny apartment, which she shares with her brother.

"I don't know how long I'm going to be here because it's really hard to make plans," Anna Romankenko, a resident of Luhansk, said. 

Anna Tkanchenko is from Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, where Russian forces bombarded city hall on Tuesday.

"It's really hard to listen to the news and to see the photos of your neighborhood, the places where you've hung out, to see them destroyed is so sad," Tkanchenko told CBN News. 

Donate to OPERATION BLESSING Relief Efforts in Poland and Ukraine

Like so many residents here in Lviv, 22-year-old Anastasia Mochar, a Ukrainian Christian, decided to open her home to the young ladies, even though she didn't know them.

"This is totally normal for me because I was raised in a family where our home was open to other people," Mochar said. "We were always helping people who were going through difficult times."

This past weekend, Mochar's church turned all available office space into temporary rooms for refugee families.

"There will be a lot more refugees coming. We are not sure what's going to happen next, but the Christian community here stands ready to help provide shelter and anything else we can do," said Pastor Volodymyr Bilyk of the Spring of Life Church.  

The United Nations is warning the ongoing exodus of refugees could grow to as many as 5 million in the weeks ahead.

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About The Author

George Thomas Headshot

Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and of Indian descent, CBN News’ Senior International Correspondent and Co-Anchor, George Thomas, has been traveling the globe for more than 20 years, finding the stories of people, conflicts, and issues that must be told. He has reported from more than 100 countries and has had a front-row seat to numerous global events of our day. George’s stories of faith, struggle, and hope combine the expertise of a seasoned journalist with the inspiration of a deep calling to tell the stories of the people behind the news. “I’ve always liked discovering & exploring new