Biola University's extension center in Ukraine sparks concerns for everyone's safety as war rages on

LA MIRADA, Calif. (KABC) -- As war rages in Ukraine, and Russian military forces continue their push on the capital city of Kyiv, the world is watching.

But on the campus of Biola, a private Christian university in La Mirada, administrators are concerned about everyone at their extension center in Kyiv.

Clinton Arnold, Dean of Biola University's Talbot School of Theology, said one of his staff members spoke earlier this morning with the president of the Kyiv Seminary, along the Dnieper River, not far from the Kyiv city center.

"He says 'can you believe this is happening in our country?' And he broke down in tears. It's just so unbelievable," said Arnold.

Talbot School of Theology opened its extension center in Kyiv 2007, to work closely with the Kyiv seminary that was formed a few years after the fall of the former Soviet Union.

"We've had a long history with them, with a lot of our professors shuttling back and forth to teach classes and prepare students over there," said Arnold, who added that some people at the extension are from both Russia and Belarus as well.

"We provide advanced biblical and theological training and ministry skills training for people in a Eurasian context."

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Arnold said there's evidence that the violence is moving closer and closer to the city center.

"There's a 10-story apartment structure very close to the seminary that was struck by a missile," said Arnold, who added that the daughter of the seminary's president goes to school with one of the people who lived at the apartment.

"Fortunately, the family was in a bomb shelter at the time. So the destruction, the bombs, the artillery, are hitting very close to where the seminary is at, and things are only intensifying right now it appears."

Understandably, classes have all been canceled. But given the violence, and the great unknown of when and how it will end, leaves the future of the seminary very much in doubt.

"Will this be a Russian dominated and controlled country, we will no longer be able to operate in the way that we're operating now, or will the invasion somehow get turned back?"

Arnold clarified that currently there are no Biola University students who are U.S. citizens on the campus of the extension center in Kyiv.
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