Weekly News Update 
WASHINGTON, D.C. February 20, 2015


TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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

I am writing this letter from Tel Aviv as Shabbat approaches, after the completion of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations' annual mission to Israel. NCSEJ Chairman Stephen Greenberg and I met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and opposition leaders Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog. Issues discussed included Iran, ISIS, and the upcoming Israeli elections. It has been another very successful Conference of Presidents mission.

This week marks a year since the start of clashes between protesters and police in Kyiv, which resulted in over a hundred deaths and led to President Victor Yanukovych's removal from office. As Ukraine commemorates the last year's events, the country remains gripped in a deadly conflict.

Despite the new ceasefire agreement between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government, fighting continued this week over the strategic rail hub of Debaltseve. On Wednesday, the separatists took control of Debaltseve. Shelling was also reported in Donetsk and close to Mariupol, the main Azov seaport and a strategic gateway to Crimea. Today, the Ukrainian government accused Russia of sending more troops and equipment to Ukraine, and of aiding the rebels' attempts to gain more territory.

In Kaunas, Lithuania, a march of over 500 neo-Nazis took place on Monday. Some of the participants were bearing swastikas and other Nazi symbols. NCSEJ contacted Lithuania's Ambassador to the U.S. Zygimantas Pavilionis, urging Lithuania's government to condemn the march.

On Wednesday, Moldova's parliament approved Chiril Gaburici as the country's new prime minister. Prime Minister Gaburici promised to pursue closer ties with the West, despite the negative ramifications that pro-European relations would likely impose on relations with Russia. Russia has already banned imports of wine, vegetables, and other produce from Moldova, and continues to support the breakaway region of Transdniestria.

I want to recommend an article in this week's update by Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, examining how Russian President Vladimir Putin's views of the United States developed over time, and influenced Russia's policies.



Mark B. Levin

Executive Director

Please visit http://ncsej.org/NCSEJ-Wkly.pdf  
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. 
Website: www.ncsej.org   
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.