On Friday evening, November 16, 2018, some 200 officers from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) raided eight homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Crimea.

Due to the shock and extreme stress induced by the invasion of armed and masked FSB officers, two Witnesses experienced a severe spike in their blood pressure and had to be taken to the hospital. We are also saddened to report that one sister had a miscarriage.

During the raid, officers physically assaulted 78-year-old Aleksandr Ursu. He was pinned against the wall, forced to the ground, and handcuffed. Additionally, the police interrogated several other Witnesses.

At this time, only Brother Sergey Filatov (pictured right) is facing criminal charges. The authorities have charged him under Article 282.2, part 1, of Russia’s Criminal Code—which the Russian Federation is imposing on the Crimean peninsula. The 47-year-old father of four is the first Witness in Crimea to face charges under Russia’s anti-extremism law.

Although reports of raids and persecution are a cause of concern for our brothers, we courageously look to our God, Jehovah, to fortify us during these trial-filled last days.—Isaiah 41:10.