WASHINGTON, D.C. March 20, 2015
TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties
FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSEJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSEJ Executive Director
On Monday, the annual march commemorating Latvia's Waffen SS veterans who fought alongside the Nazis during World War II took place in Riga. NCSEJ has regularly monitored the Waffen SS marches, and repeatedly urged the Latvian authorities not to participate. This year, members of the Latvian government did not take part in the march.
Last week, Israel opened its first embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania. This development is of major symbolic significance for Israeli-Lithuanian relations and to Lithuania's Jewish community, which before WWII numbered close to 250,000 but was largely exterminated by the Nazis.
March 18 marked the one-year anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed thousands of people who gathered in Moscow to celebrate the takeover, and called Crimea the source of Russia's "historical origins" and its "spirituality and statehood." Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the annexation of Crimea is "an assault on international law" and urged the international community to maintain pressure on Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine, and to respect the rights of Ukrainians and ethnic minorities in the peninsula. The update includes several articles that detail the situation in Crimea since the annexation.
On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament approved amendments to the law on the special status of rebel-controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. These new laws postpone greater autonomy for the regions until they hold new elections in line with Ukrainian law and under international observation. Pro-Russian separatist leaders and the Russian government sharply criticized the move, and the separatist rebels threatened to abandon the ceasefire agreement.
During this week's summit in Brussels, EU leaders agreed to keep sanctions against Russia in place, linking them with the "complete implementation" of a ceasefire deal. The Kremlin criticized the decision and accused the Ukrainian government of violating the terms of the ceasefire agreement.
Mark B. Levin
Please visit http://ncsej.org/NCSEJ-Wkly.pdf
for NCSEJ's Weekly News Update.