Following a two-day visit to Ukraine, the Rev. Franklin Graham wrote to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to request a cease-fire during Holy Week in the Western and Eastern Christian faiths, which runs from April 10 to April 24.
Graham paid a visit to Ukraine this week to check how Samaritan’s Purse, his humanitarian assistance organization, is assisting refugees and other conflict victims. He expressed scepticism that he would receive a reaction from Putin, but he saw the message as vital.
“If they can stop fighting for a week or 10 days, maybe they can stop fighting for two weeks,” Graham remarked over the phone from his North Carolina home. “If they stop for two weeks maybe they can stop for a month. If they stop for a month, maybe they can stop for good. You’ve got to start somewhere,” he added.
Samaritan’s Purse in Ukraine
In the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Samaritan’s Purse set up an emergency field hospital earlier this month in an underground parking garage. It has now expanded its operations to include other medical clinics: two in Lviv, one near the train station and another at a bus station, and a third in Chernivtsi, Ukraine’s southwest.
Now, as it moves eastward, the group hopes to build a second emergency field hospital by this weekend.
Graham stated that he did not want to reveal the site while the crews were building up, but that once the facility is operational, he will make it public.
Lviv, which is only 44 miles from the Polish border, is roughly 340 miles west of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. The new hospital, which would be located closer to Russian hostilities, will be able to assist soldiers and those who have been injured in conflict.
Graham said, “We have orthopaedic doctors, general surgeons, and all the supplies so we want to be closer to where the injured are.”
When asked if he was concerned about his employees’ safety, he replied, “You’re always concerned, but it’s not going to stop us from doing what we need to do.”
With $16 million in contributions, Samaritan’s Purse is also financing the rescue and relief activities of local Baptist and Pentecostal churches. Graham stated that if the demand persists, that figure might more than double.
According to Graham, around 160 Samaritan’s Purse workers and volunteers are now in Ukraine. He also mentioned that the group has delivered 90 tons of food. Although it is aware of an Israeli field hospital in Lviv, Samaritan’s Purse has not collaborated with any other aid group.
“Regardless of whether he scales back or intensifies, we’re there to help the people. Samaritan’s Purse could possibly be there for several years. The need is tremendous,” he said.
Franklin Graham’s take on other religious groups
Graham remarked on August 19, 2010, when questioned by CNN journalist John King if he had any concerns if President Barack Obama is a Christian, “I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim; his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name.”
Graham stated in a March 2011 interview with the conservative Internet newspaper Newsmax that leaders in the Obama administration have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
He said, “The Muslim Brotherhood is very strong and active in our country. It’s infiltrated every level of our government. Right now we have many of these people that are advising the US military and State Department on how to respond in the Middle East, and it’s like asking a fox, like a farmer asking a fox, “How do I protect my henhouse from foxes?” We’ve brought in Muslims to tell us how to make policy toward Muslim countries. And many of these people we’ve brought in, I’m afraid, are under the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Graham has also spoken on Hinduism, saying, “no elephant with 100 arms can do anything for me. None of their 9,000 gods is going to lead me to salvation.”
About Franklin Graham
On July 14, 1952, William Franklin Graham III was born. He is a missionary and evangelist from the United States. He is regularly involved in Christian revival trips as well as political comments. He presently serves as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan’s Purse, a worldwide Christian aid organization.