A report from an American observer group, the Institute for the Study of War, says Russian forces have shut down another Ukrainian evangelical church in Mariupol, reportedly as part of a wider campaign of religious persecution in occupied Ukraine. 

Much of Mariupol has been destroyed by shelling and thousands have died.

A city official in Mariupol, Petro Andryushchenko has sent messages from the besieged city that Russian forces seized the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity and are using the church to house 10 to 30 Russian servicemen.

Above: A pre-war photo of the occupied church sent by the Mayoral official.

Please pray for Ukraine

Sovereign Lord, you observe all those who dwell on earth. Have mercy we pray on those who now suffer the miseries of a war not of their own making. Have compassion on the wounded and dying; comfort the broken-hearted; confound the hatred and madness of those who make war; guide our rulers, bring war to an end, bring peace across the world.  Unite us all under the reign of your Son, the Prince of Peace, before whose judgement seat the rulers of the world will give account, and in whose name we pray. Amen.

CNN is reporting that Russian forces have damaged or destroyed at least 59 religious sites across the Ukraine since the invasion began and the Institute of War says protestants have suffered two-thirds of all of the reported religious repression events in Mariupol with evangelical Baptists among the targets.

Ukraine has the second-largest Baptist community in Europe, with about 2,100 congregations.

Main photo: A bombed out theatre in Mariupol which hid refugees of the war (Petro Andryushchenko)