Ukraine Update #37: Slovyansk, Donetsk, Kramatorsk Jewish communities Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 7, 2014, 3:00 p.m.

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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


Ukraine Update #37


Over the weekend, Ukrainian military forces regained control of several cities in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, including the city of Slovyansk, one of the pro-Russian separatists' strongholds. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called retaking Slovyansk a "turning point" in the military operation against pro-Russian militants, and vowed to continue the offensive.

Today, government forces moved to surround the city of Donetsk, where most of the separatists retreated after losing control of Slovyansk. Several bridges leading to the city were destroyed today.

Donetsk businessman and Ukraine's richest man Rinat Akhmetov urged the government not to bomb the city of Donetsk, and to show restraint in its military offensive in the region.

Ukrainian media reported continued unrest in several other towns that remain under control of pro-Russian militants, including Horlivka, Luhansk, Snizhne, Antratsyt, Krasnodon, and Severodonetsk.

Moscow condemned the Ukrainian government's operation in the region, and Russia's Foreign Ministry urged the EU today to 'adequately respond' to the deaths of civilians in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow however did not signal that it's ready to react militarily against Ukraine. Last week, in an Independence Day message to President Barack Obama and the American people, President Vladimir Putin said he sought an improvement in bilateral ties "on the basis of pragmatism," calling on Washington to treat Moscow as an equal partner.

Today NCSEJ contacted the Jewish community of Slovyansk, who reported that while there are still shots being fired on the outskirts of the city, those who had left the city are starting to come back. Most of the remaining Slovyansk residents welcomed the liberation of the town by the Ukrainian government's troops. While the city is still cut off from gas, electricity, and water, the government has vowed to restore services. Yesterday, the Ukrainian military forces delivered first humanitarian aid packages to Slovyansk.

The Jewish community representatives of Kramatorsk said the situation in the city after its liberation from the pro-Russian militants is stable. Kramatorsk is fully supplied with food and other basic necessities.

The Jewish community leadership of Donetsk reported a volatile situation in the city. Many pro-Russian separatists escaped from Slovyansk and Kramatorsk to Donetsk, and seized more administrative and residential buildings there. One group of pro-Russian militants currently resides in close proximity to the Donetsk Hesed center; the center is still operating as usual. Jewish community representatives also expressed concern about other Jewish community institutions located in the center of Donetsk, which could be affected if fighting erupts around the administrative buildings also located in the city center.

The Jewish community of Kharkiv reported a stable situation. Many members of Kharkiv Jewish community host Jewish refugees from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions; Kharkiv Jewish community also provides support to refugees housed in a temporary camp outside of the city.   


As always, NCSEJ 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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