Ukraine Update #43: Odessa,
Luhansk, Sumy Jewish Communities Report 

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 6, 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 #43


U.S. and NATO officials warned today of an increased risk of military invasion, as an estimated force of 20,000 Russian troops continues to build along Ukraine's border.

In a statement today, NATO representatives voiced concern that Russia might use "the pretext of a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission as an excuse to send troops into Eastern Ukraine."

Experts say that Russia might be considering an intervention in response to the recent success of Ukrainian government forces in regaining control of areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

NCSEJ contacted today several communities in the Eastern, Southern and Northern regions of Ukraine that border Russia. They reported great concern about the increasing number of Russian troops along the border.

The Odessa Jewish community voiced the local population's concern about the potential invasion of the Odessa region by Russian troops stationed in Transnistria. Ukraine's military is trying to fortify the border by digging trenches, but is reportedly lacking in equipment and numbers in comparison to the Russian troops.

The Jewish community representatives of Sumy, in northern Ukraine, said the situation is stable and community programs are continuing as scheduled. However, there is a growing anxiety among the local population about a full-fledged war with Russia. We received similar reports from Chernihiv Jewish community, also located in the northern part of the country.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is growing. Refugees continue to flee the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with the UN's refugee agency estimating over 117,000 displaced people inside Ukraine.

In Horlovka, Torez, Harzysk, and other small towns of the Donetsk region, the situation remains dire. In some areas, the local population is cut off from water and electricity, and there have been reports of food and medicine shortages.

The situation is extremely difficult in the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk that remain separatist strongholds. The Ukrainian government troops have encircled the cities, and there are reports of fighting and shelling in the residential areas.

The Slovyansk and Kramatorsk Jewish communities reported that while life in these towns is slowly normalizing, and supplies of electricity, food and water have been restored, residents live in constant fear of the potential return of the pro-Russian militants.
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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