Weekly News Update 

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 12, 2014

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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


Dear Friend,

Despite the ceasefire agreement that continues to hold between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, the EU and the U.S. unveiled a new round of sanctions against Russia yesterday, increasing pressure on Moscow to stop fueling the crisis in Ukraine.

The new European sanctions are aimed at Russia's financial, oil, and defense sectors and will target three Russian state-owned oil companies: Rosneft, Transneft, and Gazprom. In addition, twenty-four individuals, including senior Russian officials and pro-Russian separatist leaders in Ukraine are now subject to asset freezes and travel bans.

The U.S. sanctions, coordinated with the EU, also impose restrictions on major energy and defense companies, including Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom, and introduce penalties on Russia's largest financial entity, Sberbank.

Moscow condemned the sanctions and threatened to respond in kind. Some European states are already voicing concern that Russia is restricting gas supplies to the EU in retaliation.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will visit the U.S. next week and will address Congress on September 18.

Meanwhile, we hear from the Jewish communities in Eastern and Southern Ukraine that they are hopeful that the ceasefire will hold, as the communities prepare for Rosh Hashanah. While the situation in the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk has improved, Jews and others are concerned about the return of violence.

I would like to highlight a New York Times op-ed by Brenda Schaffer, about Russia's role in promoting the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In her article, Schaffer urges Washington to take a leadership role in negotiating a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh and other 'frozen conflicts' in the region.

Another story included in this week's update, "Strange Bedfellows: Putin and Europe's Far Right," by Alina Polyakova, talks about the endorsement of President Putin's policies by parties and groups in Western Europe that find the Russian government's ideology of social conservatism and nationalism appealing.

Finally, I would like to highlight my interview with the New York Jewish Week included in the update, which outlines the impact of the crisis in Ukraine on its Jewish communities.



Mark B. Levin

Executive Director

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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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