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Ukrainian bishop with sons on front lines shares realities of war

‘You can only cry when you see what they’re doing to us.’
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 1:29 AM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A Ukranian man with a local connection is currently defending his homeland from the Russian invasion.

Three years ago, Vlad Horpynchuk was a vicar—a student pastor—in the Tri-State at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. His wife also volunteered at the connected school.

Beautiful Savior Pastor Tom Westra described the couple as “amazing people.” And of Vicar: “He loves Ukraine. He’s very proud of being from Ukraine and loved to tell us stories about Ukraine when he was here.”

That love returned Vicar to Ukraine, where he and his younger brother are now putting their lives on the line for their country against.

“It’s like you cannot believe your own eyes, what’s happening around you,” said the boys’ father, V’yacheslav Horpynchuk, who is bishop of the Ukraine Lutheran Church. “You can only cry when you see what they’re doing to us.”

V’yacheslav is helping as well. Since Russian troops invaded Ukraine last week, he’s been organizing refugee centers to house those fleeing violence in Kyiv and elsewhere.

“I cannot understand why one nation would hate another nation, has to come into our home and murder us?” V’yacheslav said.

The conflict has also perplexed experts who have pointed to the bumbling initial wave of Russian troops apparently deployed on the assumption that Ukrainian forces would not put up much of a fight. But a week into the invasion, those same troops are facing creative resistance without yet having reached the cities were losses are destined to escalate.

“We will die, but we will not surrender,” V’yacheslav said.

The situation remains perilous, however, and it figures to get worse from here as Russia entertains more extreme military options.

“There is little food here. There is no electricity in place in Kyiv. No water supply at homes. Very little food at the stores. The stores are basically empty,” V’yacheslav said.

“They shoot missiles on houses. They shoot missiles onto residential areas. They destroy our museums. They burn our libraries. They kill many civilians. Adults, children. It’s very painful,” he said.

V’yacheslav’s message to the world is that Ukraine needs help. Short of that, he says it’s gratifying to know his country, and his sons, are in the prayers of others.

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