Ukraine Update #38: Donetsk, Slovyansk, Kramatorsk Jewish communities Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 10, 2014

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, NCSEJ Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSEJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSEJ Executive Director


Ukraine Update #38


Ukrainian military forces have continued to gain ground in Eastern Ukraine this week, and today took control of the town of Siversk, in the Donetsk region.


The Ukrainian government has also delivered a warning to pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, the remaining separatists' stronghold in the region, that the government troops will retake control of the city. One of the leaders of the pro-Russian militants announced today a potential mass evacuation of Donetsk's civilian population.


Government troops have also continued their offensive in the Luhansk region.


EU diplomats yesterday agreed to again expand the sanctions list targeting those aiding separatism in Eastern Ukraine, including Russians, with visa bans and asset freezes. Moscow condemned the decision.


In a phone conversation with President Vladimir Putin today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande urged Russia to exert pressure on the pro-Russian separatists to resolve the conflict. The leaders also urged a renewed cease fire in Eastern Ukraine.


Yesterday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Senators pressed Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland on when the Administration was going to introduce further sanctions against Russia. She said the Administration is working with its European allies on potentially introducing a new round of coordinated sanctions.


NCSEJ spoke today with the Jewish community of Donetsk. Community representatives reported an alarming number of armed pro-Russian militants in the city, including some in close proximity to the Jewish community buildings. The local synagogue and Hesed center continue to address the increased needs of the Jewish community members and to help those interested in emigration to Israel with the process. Many community members also express interest in international programs available for refugees from Ukraine.


Jewish community representatives also reported shootings taking place on the outskirts of Donetsk today, and said the local population is concerned about the fighting spreading to the city itself.


The Jewish community of Slovyansk reported that electricity has now been restored in most parts of the city, recently liberated by the Ukrainian government. Humanitarian aid, salaries, and pensions are being delivered. Train service between Kharkiv and Slovyansk has been restored, and local public transportation and other public services are improving.


Some Slovyansk Jewish community members who left the city have returned, but many are still waiting for the situation to stabilize before coming back to their homes.


Kramatorsk Jewish community reported that city life is slowly coming back to normal. Previously closed stores have opened up again, and clean-up efforts are under way.


The Jewish community of Severodonetsk, in the Luhansk region, reported heavy fighting in close proximity to the town. The situation inside Severodonetsk is stable, though pension deliveries have been interrupted. The local Hesed center is functioning as usual to address the needs of the Jewish community.



Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union. 
Phone: 202-898-2500 
NCSEJ is a beneficiary of The Jewish Federations of North America and the National Federation/Agency Alliance through its network of Federations. 
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