For the sixth time in recent months, the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial in Kyiv was desecrated. According to the local Jewish community, vandals set the memorial on fire on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. The community urged authorities to investigate, and to install effective measures to prevent future vandalism, including video surveillance and police patrol of the area. We join the Kyiv Jewish community in urging the Ukrainian government to take serious measures to bring perpetrators to justice, and to protect Ukraine's Jewish sites.
Russia has stepped up its military support for President Assad's regime in Syria, at the same time as the U.S. is reassessing its Syria strategy. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said today that the U.S. is ready to work with Russia on addressing the Syria crisis. Secretary Kerry underscored that while the U.S. and Russia don't see eye to eye on the issue, there is potential for cooperation if Russia only focuses on addressing the treat from ISIS. I recommend a New York Times story in this week's update that analyzes Russia's involvement in Syria in the regional and global context. I also want to highlight a Wall Street Journal article on the role of defense officials in the U.S.-Russia dialogue.
Ukraine's parliament has approved a debt restructuring deal, which cleared one of the main roadblocks to Ukraine's receiving $40billion bailout package from the IMF.
This week, Russian authorities have shut down the U.S. Embassy's American Center in Moscow. U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft expressed 'deep regret' about the decision to close the center. In existence for 22 years, the American Center has been instrumental in providing an avenue for bettering cultural ties between the U.S. and Russia.
I also want to recommend a Washington Post story about the decision of a U.S. judge to fine Russia by $43.7 million for failing to return a collection of Jewish religious texts to the Chabad-Lubavitch group.
Gmar Chatimah Tova!
Mark B. Levin