June 9, 2014, 3:30 p.m.
TO: NCSJ Leadership and Interested Parties
Petro Poroshenko was sworn in this Saturday as the fifth president of Ukraine, pledging to end the prolonged unrest in Eastern Ukraine and unite the country.
FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSJ Executive Director
UKRAINE UPDATE #32
In his inaugural speech, Poroshenko called on pro-Russian separatists to surrender their weapons, promising amnesty from criminal responsibility for those not responsible for deaths of the Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.
President Poroshenko also said that the government will swiftly move forward with anti-corruption measures and other reforms, and sign economic agreement with the European Union.
Despite President Poroshenko's calls for peace, and a start of negotiations among Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE to end the conflict, unrest in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine continues.
The situation in the city of Slovyansk, a stronghold of the pro-Russian separatists, has significantly deteriorated. NCSJ spoke with Jewish community representatives today, who reported war-like conditions in the city. They said several apartment buildings, hospitals, and factories in Slovyansk were fire-bombed over the weekend. The fighting has resulted in numerous casualties. There are food shortages and severe power and water outages throughout the city.
Many women and children have been evacuated to the Odessa and Kharkiv regions. Many Jewish community members have also left, but some have stayed and require assistance. As of now, several local Hesed center workers remain in Slovyansk to continue provide support for Jews in need.
The situation is also deteriorating in the Luhansk region. After the takeover of a strategic border command center near the city of Luhansk by the separatists last week, several other border guard checkpoints are under siege by pro-Russian militants.
As fighting in the area continues, parents are looking for opportunities to send their children to summer camps at least temporarily away from areas of violence and unrest.
As always, NCSJ will continue to monitor the situation throughout Ukraine, and provide you with timely and critical updates.
NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia,
Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia, founded
represents the organized American Jewish
in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the
estimated 1.5 million Jews living in the 15
states of the former Soviet Union.
NCSJ is a beneficiary of The
Federations of North America and the National
through its network of