We from northern Europe join wholeheartedly in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and calling for an end to the bombing and killing. The courage of Ukrainians in the face of the destruction of their whole lives is breathtaking - and we need to share some of the cost of their resistance.
For us in the north of the continent, the historical connections run deep - especially for Finland, with its long border history with Russia; for Sweden, whose 'Vikings' influenced the formation of the Kievan Rus; and for Norway, also with a land border and partnership with Russia over the Spitsbergen islands.
For many of us connected with Initiatives of Change, deep friendships have formed in recent years with both Ukrainians and Russians - through annual winter conferences in Norway, gatherings in the Baltic region, and through collaboration in the Foundations for Freedom programme.
We stand in solidarity with Ukraine, and are committed individually and collectively to help practically where we can. Many of us are in daily contact with friends in Ukraine and Russia. Norwegians host a daily prayer connection which brings together west and east Europeans. IofC Sweden has sent 100,000 Swedish kronor to help on the ground. Many of us have made individual donations and are working locally to support the relief effort and care for incoming refugees. Our commitment is not only to the immediate but also to the long-term rebuilding of infrastructure and relationships.