On Sunday, February 23, Oleksandr Turchynov took office as the acting president of Ukraine, replacing the recently deposed President Yanukovych. Recognized as a Baptist pastor and well-known politician, Turchynov addressed the public Monday night in Kiev, calling for an end to violence and urging citizens to make peace. Christianity Today quotes him saying,
"Our first task today is to stop the confrontation, to regain control … to ensure peace and tranquility, to prevent new victims, local rivalries and lynchings. Another priority is returning to European integration. We must return to the European family. We recognize the importance of relations with the Russian Federation, and are ready for dialogue with the Russian leadership to build relations with this country on a new, truly equitable and good-neighborly basis, which implies recognition of accounting Ukraine's European choice."
Turchynov comes to office in the wake of explosive violence that has shaken his country in the previous week. It began with months of growing protests over the former president’s decision to move Ukraine into a closer economic and political relationship with Russia. The resulting conflict has claimed more than 88 lives. Sergey Rakhuba, who heads a U.S.-based Russian ministry, hopes Turchynov’s Christian faith will give him wisdom in these troubled times.
"He is well-known as a preacher who, despite his political opposition work, preaches on a regular basis at one of the Baptist churches in Kiev, even though security must travel with him. Overall, the evangelical church is excited about Turchynov's sudden unanimous appointment as acting president. Within the evangelical community, the post-Soviet mindset exists that a true Christian cannot necessarily be a politician. Personally I think it is great that Turchynov is calling for unification and healing of the nation."
As of this moment, the international Christian community is urged to pray for intersession in the Ukrainian nation.