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Ukrainian national flag waves as protesters rally at the central Independence square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. Ukraine’s opposition failed Tuesday to force out the government with a no-confidence vote in parliament, leaving the country’s high political tensions unresolved, and with some thousands of people demonstrating on the streets of the capital. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
22 Mormon missionaries coming home early from Ukraine

Religion » The Utah-based faith says its missionaries in Venezuela are safe.

First Published Mar 07 2014 10:53 am • Last Updated Mar 08 2014 10:39 am

Nearly two dozen Mormon missionaries are coming home early from Ukraine, due to the evolving tensions in the Crimean Peninsula.

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced late Thursday that 22 missionaries — including those due to end their missions this month and next — will leave Ukraine for their homes during the next few days.

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"Missionaries who have been in missionary training centers preparing to enter Ukraine are being temporarily reassigned to other missions," the church said in a news release, "or will remain at the MTCs on a short-term basis."

The news release notes the early departures will allow the four Mormon missions in Ukraine to "better accommodate the missionaries who were moved out of the Crimean Peninsula" when the latest crisis erupted.

In another troubled region on a different continent, the LDS Church announced that all its missionaries are safe in Venezuela.

"Church leaders are in regular contact with mission presidents and missionaries serving throughout Venezuela," the news release said, "and are closely monitoring the situation to ensure their safety and well-being."

Church statistics report that Venezuela has nearly 160,000 Mormons; Ukraine has more than 11,000 Latter-day Saints.

More than 80,000 LDS missionaries are serving in 405 missions around the globe.

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