The crisis in Ukraine has been at the top of the news, but it is particularly on the minds of Mira Ponomarenko Postma and Roman Golovchenko, both alumni of Redeemer University College who now live in the Hamilton, Ontario area.
Both Postma and Golovchenko grew up in Ukraine and moved to Canada as young adults. As their families still live in Kyiv, the Ukrainian situation brings uncertainty and worry.
Last week Postma and Golovchenko took part in a panel discussion led by Redeemer professor of history Jim Payton examining the deep tensions that have existed for centuries, evolving into the current crisis. In explaining how Ukraine is pulled between the East and the West because of political, religious, and emotional ties, the panelists discussed implications for Russia and the rest of Europe.
“The energy conflicts, particularly the control of the gas lines, affect all of Europe,” explained Postma, a member of First Christian Reformed Church in Hamilton, “and that colors a lot of political and economic responses.”
Payton expressed admiration for bold statements of support for a sovereign Ukraine by Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Postma agreed, stating the value of these statements and symbols of solidarity in affirming those who are in the middle of the crisis.
In discussing the future for Ukraine, Golovchenko said, “The best-case scenario is that the status quo remains. Considering we’re facing a potential invasion, Ukraine cannot fight Russia face on and needs time . . . time to rebuild the economy and other aspects of a sovereign state.”
Postma, whose entire family lives in Ukraine, urged listeners to “pray for peace and good leadership. There are Russian tanks on the Ukrainian borders, and people are legitimately nervous.”
Postma is worried for her loved ones’ safety but is also full of pride for country in standing up and discovering its voice. She stressed the need for prayer and engagement: “Read the news, know what is going on, pray about it, and make your views known to your peers, to those who are in power, and to those thousands of miles away.”