Ukraine Update #35: General Political and Communities Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. June 24, 2014, 1:23 p.m.

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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


Ukraine Update #35


Dramatic events continue to unfold in Ukraine. Yesterday, multilateral talks between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists took place in Donetsk, and the pro-Russian militants agreed to a cease fire until June 27.  


On Friday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced his peace plan to resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, which includes the provisions for decentralization of power and protection of the Russian language.


President Poroshenko however said the rebels have already violated the cease fire agreement with overnight attacks on military checkpoints. Moreover, according to the statement by the Ukrainian authorities today, a military helicopter was shot down by the separatists near Slovyansk, killing 9 people.


The U.S. and the EU have threatened to introduce stronger sanctions against Russia if it continues to support pro-Russian militants in the east of Ukraine. In a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, President Barack Obama urged him to back the peace plan and the de-escalation of the crisis.  


Today President Putin called for an extension of the cease fire between the Ukrainian government and the separatists, and asked the Russian parliament to revoke the power it has given him to invade Ukraine. Although seen by many as mostly symbolic, the move was welcomed by President Poroshenko who called it a "first practical step" toward a resolution of the crisis.  


NCSEJ today contacted the Jewish communities in Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. They continue to experience electricity, water and gas shortages. Emigration from Slovyansk, Kramatorsk and other areas of unrest in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions continues.  


The situation in Kharkiv is stable. However, political divisions in the Jewish community persist. Community representatives reported a continued flow of refugees to Kharkiv from the areas of unrest. They also said that small pro-Russian rallies continue to take place on Sundays, but these gatherings have been nonviolent.  


The situation is also stable in Odesa. The Jewish community reported an influx of refugees from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Local Hesed centers have stepped up their efforts to help Jews in need who emigrated from the areas of unrest. The Jewish community programs continue as scheduled.  


The situation is still troubling in Harzysk, Lysychansk, Luhansk and a number of other small cities in the Eastern regions of Ukraine.


As always, NCSJ will continue to monitor the situation throughout Ukraine, and provide you with timely and critical updates.


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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