As tensions between Kiev forces and pro-Russian separatists escalate in eastern Ukraine, Christians are increasingly becoming targets of persecution in areas controlled by insurgents.
Acts of aggression include kidnappings, beatings, and killings, including the murder of four ministers several weeks ago.
According to Sergey Rakhuba, president of Russian Ministries, the rebels view evangelicals as enemies.
"In one of the towns, they even raised the Orthodox flag and said they would fight any heretic, any Protestant, anyone who represents any Western immoral values," he told Mission News Now.
Despite the violence, many pastors have chosen to remain in the war-torn region.
Rakhuba said one pastor told him, "'I'm staying here because I cannot abandon my flock. I cannot abandon those who are trapped here.'"
"There are hundreds of pastors that are doing the same thing," Rakhuba said.
***How much of the Christian persecution in east Ukraine is linked to pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church? Sergey Rakhuba addressed that issue as well as how his ministry is reaching out to the people of east Ukraine. Click play for his comments.