• A desolate landscape in a wintry Ukraine. Where does the road lead? | Photo: Christians for Israel
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On the Run Now That Winter Has Arrived in Ukraine

Koen Carlier - 29 November 2022

After our first trip to Kherson since the liberation of the city late last week, we travelled to Kherson again last Thursday with relief supplies. Mainly drinking water, candles, matches and a gas heater for the Jewish community’s office. In addition, we will again evacuate some Jewish elderly people, after which they will fly to Israel.

In cooperation with the Jewish Agency, two of our staff members tried to reach as many families in Kherson as possible by phone in the last few days. We offered to evacuate them. The Russian army has left, resulting in the city being bombed again.

Generators are being brought here and there for the most vulnerable places like for the hospital, police station, supermarket and train station where people can charge their phones to call relatives. No one knows how many people are left in Kherson now. Before the war, the city had over 400,000 inhabitants. The number is estimated now between 100,000 and 120,000. Various relief organisations are doing what they can, but there is a shortage of really everything!

Evacuations are in full swing and our vans are not idle either.

“The consequences of the war are being felt not only in Kherson, but also in many other large and smaller towns”

Unfortunately, the consequences of the war are being felt not only in Kherson, but also in many other large and smaller towns. Especially after another large number of missiles wreaked major destruction a few days ago on the still working or newly repaired infrastructure. The result: long power cuts, long queues at petrol stations and hoarding ‘just in case’.

We experienced it ourselves when we were at the wholesaler to stock up on a large quantity of drinking water for Kherson and suddenly everything went dark for ten minutes.


At the wholesaler to stock up | Photo: Christians for Israel


For a few days now, King Winter has also been in the country with a lot of snow, sleet, fog and the inconvenience on the roads. Fortunately, in southern Ukraine (with cities like Kherson, Odessa and Nykolaev) it is a bit warmer.

After the war, there was an expression shared by Jews, we heard from Holocaust survivor Roza from Kherson: “Anything can happen, but a war never again”. Unfortunately, reality is different now!

Visiting Roza in Kherson | Photo: Christians for Israel

On the run for the second time
As small children, Yevgeniya and Yuri survived the Holocaust in Ukraine. At the hand of their mother and grandmother, they were chased on the run by the Nazis. From one barracks as refuge to another barracks. Other family members were less fortunate and were shot and dumped in one of the many Jewish mass graves.

Now, so many years after the horrors of the Holocaust in Ukraine – where an estimated 1.5 million Jews were murdered, spread over more than 2,000 mass graves – all the unpleasant memories come flooding back. The difference between then and now is that Jewish refugees are offered a helping and practical hand in their evacuation.

Yevgeniya and Yuri could not remember the last time they had eaten hot chicken soup. A smile appeared on their faces when we served it to them.

Other families from eastern Ukraine also told us similar stories:
“We really should have gone to Israel a long time ago, but yes, we constantly postponed it until now it’s almost too late… Winter has arrived in Ukraine and it is cold. Where we live there is already almost no running water, no electricity, no heating and there is family waiting for us in Israel. Now we have no more doubts. We are going to Israel.”

“We really should have gone to Israel a long time ago, but yes, we constantly postponed it until now it’s almost too late…”

I escorted an elderly, frail man to our van.

“Fortunately, we can still leave now, fleeing the winter, so to speak. Very special that you helped us despite all the obstacles. We will never forget this!”

The obstacles are indeed plentiful and the evacuation journeys are not without danger, also because of constant missile attacks. It almost seems like Russian roulette. In our two shelters we fortunately installed large generators months ago, in case of a total power failure there too. No unnecessary luxury, we now know.

Kherson rocked again by missile attacks
As I write this, another couple of missiles have been fired at Kherson and immediately the phone rang. “Evacuate us now,” we just hear a crying old woman pleading with us. We are doing what we can and not letting anyone down.

The dark clouds over the North Country now almost look like black clouds. Offering help and comfort in times of need, in times of war, during the cold winter months: we will continue to do so for the time being! It remains our main task. It is heart-warming to know that so many people all over the world are praying and sympathising with the work we are doing here with our fieldworkers, many drivers and faithful volunteers!

“I will signal for them and gather them in. Surely I will redeem them; they will be as numerous as before. Though I scatter them among the peoples, yet in distant lands they will remember me. They and their children will survive, and they will return.” Zechariah 10:8-9.

Our driver Kolya with some refugees, including a Jewish couple aged 85 and 90! | photo: Christians for Israel

Bring the Jews home
In Isaiah 43:6 we find the command to bring God’s people home, to Israel. There are many promises in the Bible about the return of the Jews. As Christians for Israel, we are grateful that we can make an active contribution to this.


With the war raging in Ukraine, more and more Jews decide to leave Ukraine and go to Israel. We bring Jewish refugees to our shelter in western Ukraine and from there to Moldova to arrange their paperwork for Israel. From there the refugees are brought to Israel. Would you like to assist one or more Jewish refugees with their evacuation and emigration to Israel? Please support our Aliyah work, for 135 euros or 150 US $ we can help one Jew in Ukraine to Israel. Your support is of vital importance. Thank you in advance!

If you transfer the exact amount of €135 or 150 US $ you will receive a special certificate as prayer reminder.


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