Weekly News Update 

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 8, 2014

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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


Dear Friend,


In retaliation against the sanctions imposed by the United States and the EU, Russia has banned imports of most Western food products. Announcing the measure on Thursday, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said that the West failed to realize "that sanctions are a dead end and that nobody needs them," adding that "things have turned out in such a way that we have to implement retaliatory measures."

This week's update includes a number of articles that analyze potential implications of the ban on European companies and Russian consumers. Western experts say that the move is likely to negatively impact the Russian domestic market, raising food prices and hurting Russian consumers.

NATO officials warned this week about the increasing danger of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as an estimated force of 20,000 Russian troops continues to build along Ukraine's border. Speaking during a visit to Kyiv, NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen called on Russia to "step back from the border, and not use peacekeeping as an excuse for war-making."

Pro-Russian separatists in Moldova's region of Transnistria (along Ukraine's western border) have also put their forces on alert, adding to the threat of military conflict with Ukraine.

Pressure is increasing on the U.S. administration to expand support for Ukraine, including calls to provide the country with military assistance. President Barack Obama said that military assistance is currently off the table, and that this could change if Russia expands its efforts in Ukraine.

I would like to highlight a JTA article that details the flight of Jews from Eastern Ukraine. Among those are at least 150 Jews who are expected to arrive in Israel next month. As the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine grows, more Jews are trying to leave the areas of fighting, requiring assistance with relocating.

The situation is also deteriorating in Nagorno-Karabakh, as fighting broke out between Azerbaijani and Armenian military forces this week, resulting in 20 confirmed deaths. The Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia are currently on their way to Sochi, to meet separately with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A potential trilateral meeting to de-escalate the crisis has not been confirmed yet.

I would like to end on a more positive note. In conversation with NCSEJ, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Yaakov Bleich said that despite a deteriorating situation in Ukraine, the Jewish community of Kyiv just finished a successful session of the Ronald Lauder Shuva summer camp, and is now preparing for the next session. Organizers expect close to 500 people to attend the camp by the end of the summer.



Mark B. Levin

Executive Director

Please visit for NCSEJ's Weekly News Update.



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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