It is heartbreaking to view the photos and read the accounts of events Yarslav Malko has shared with me. Yaroslav is a Ukraine Patrol Police Chaplain and founder of Ukraine organized police chaplaincy/chaplain training academy in Kyiv, Ukraine.
On April 18, 2022, a rocket struck and destroyed the Patrol Police Regional Headquarters in Lisichansk. Toronto PS Chaplain Hillar Alkok and myself spent the better part of a day in July 2019 at this police headquarters making presentations to police officers regarding police chaplaincy; today, the home to hundreds of police officers is gone. Yaroslav shared this story from Ukraine regarding the rocket attack: “On that day, the head of the regional patrol police and 5 other officers were in the building. They were in the armory downstairs. Suddenly, the rocket flew into the direction where they were. They were all shellshocked and fell asleep, they all received concussions, but none of them died. Police officers from another department came to see what happened and heard their screams. They managed to get everyone and take them to the hospital. Now they are all back in the ranks, the Lord saved them all.” The photos below depict the remnants of the headquarters post rocket blast, in stark contrast to a fully operational police facility in July 2019. Also pictured below is a photo from 2019 of police officers and chaplains in what used be their police roll call/training room. These police officers and chaplains (minus Hillar and myself) are currently serving in this region; please keep them and their families in prayer.
The Head of the Regional Police who was injured but survived is Victor Levchenko pictured below.
In a CPCA Blog story posted on March 18, I shared that Ukraine Police Chaplain Denis Cheremisin had been captured and taken prisoner. Denis remains in captivity and has not been heard from. I only found out recently that Denis (center in photo) serves a dual role in similar fashion to me – he is a police officer and a police chaplain – very unique to Ukraine.
In July 2019, Hillar and I spent a couple of days with Mikhail Vershinin – Patrol Police Chief of Donetsk Region stationed in Mariupol. Mikhail is an officer who commands presence and has a big heart. We had meetings together, prayed together, exchanged gifts, and shared hugs prior to our departure for the North Eastern Region of Ukraine. Until May 18, 2022, Mikhail was one of several freedom fighters holed up in the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, and had been there for weeks. Unable to hold their line of defense any longer, Mikhail and others were taken into captivity on May 18. Yaroslav shared that, “three police officers stayed with him, one was killed, one wounded”. There is no further information available regarding Mikhail or the other officers. However, the following was reported by the BBC News May 18, 2022, “Russian President Vladimir Putin said the soldiers would be treated “in line with the relevant international laws”, but there is concern over what will happen to them if they remain in Russian custody.” “Nazi criminals should not be exchanged,” the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, said on Tuesday. “We should do everything to ensure they are put on trial.” “Another senior politician Leonid Slutsky, went further, calling the evacuated combatants “animals in human form” and saying they should be executed.” Here is the link to the BBC story as well as pictures of Mikhail fighting for Ukraine, and from a much happier time during our visit in July 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61493182.amp
Ukraine police chaplains are serving their communities in a variety of ways including evacuating people, delivering aid to families, and working alongside police officers throughout the nation. They are putting their lives at risk daily, entering active combat zones to evacuate people, assisting police and providing supplies. This is a photo of some police chaplains and the vans being utilized to evacuate people.