Reports are surfacing that rebels are threatening churches, interrupting services and even holding pastors hostage in eastern Ukraine.
According to reports, rebels broke a ceasefire and attacked Donetsk airport this week. Thursday, a Red Cross aid worker was killed by shelling in Donetsk.
Last week, a Seventh Day Adventist minister was abducted during a church service by pro-Russian gunmen.
The Institute for Religious Freedom, which is based in Kiev, has reported several incidents of religious persecution that happened over the summer, including the capture of four men from Transfiguration Evangelical Church in Donetsk. One man escaped and said the others had been tortured and shot to death.
Other churches have reported that their buildings have been looted and taken over by pro-Russian forces.
"They ordered us to take the furniture and get out, insisting that these churches are sects and they will be destroyed. The people in the building were threatened with a firing squad if they made a fuss about the incident," pastor Segiv Kosiak told IRF about the taking of the Word of Life Evangelical Church.
Publication date: October 3, 2014