Ukraine Update #41:
Prime Minister Yatsenyuk Resigns 

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 24, 2014

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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


Ukraine Update #41


Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation today, due to the "collapse of the [governing] coalition and [Parliament's] blocking of government initiatives," he said. Earlier today, several members of the UDAR and Svoboda parties exited the Parliament's governing coalition, leading to its collapse.

According to Ukraine's constitution, Yatsenyuk's resignation needs to be approved by the Parliament. In the meantime, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, the Jewish former mayor of the town of Vinnytsya, has been appointed acting prime minister.

It is not clear whether Yatsenyuk's resignation and dissolution of the governing coalition are a result of political maneuvering. Some political analysts viewed the withdrawal of UDAR and Svoboda as a tactic to move up the date of parliamentary elections, which President Poroshenko had proposed to hold later this year.

While the dissolution of the government coalition clears the way for early parliamentary elections, which many political analysts see as a necessary move for political reform, Yatsenyuk warned that the move could impede critical reforms and paralyze the government.

The collapse of the coalition also preceded the passage of a package of budgetary laws that allocate funding for military expenses.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting in Eastern Ukraine continued this week. Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down yesterday near the village of Dmytrivka in the Donetsk region. Ukrainian authorities said the jets were shot at from Russian territory.

The U.S. and the EU warned Russia of additional sanctions, and EU leaders are currently discussing potential introduction of stricter sanctions targeting sectors of the Russian economy.

In both the Donetsk and Luhansk regions the situation is still unstable, despite the government gaining ground in some areas of the region.

NCSEJ contacted the Jewish community of Donetsk, which reported continued fighting on the outskirts of the city. Shots are being fired inside the city and many stores have closed. Despite this, the synagogue is functioning and the local Hesed center is providing assistance to community members. Many Donetsk Jews are trying to find ways to leave town, and there are currently negotiations underway with the Dnipropetrovsk Jewish community to arrange for refugees to be transported there.

NCSEJ also contacted the Jewish community of Rubizhne in the Luhansk region, recently liberated by Ukrainian government forces. They reported a stable situation in the town. Most members of the local Jewish community had stayed in town during the unrest.

In Slovyansk, the situation is stabilizing. Residents who left are returning to Slovyansk and cleanup efforts continue.

The Jewish community of Luhansk said the situation in the city is dire. They reported food shortages and continued fighting in the city. Those who have not been able to leave the city are finding ways to organize and help others. Simcha, a recreational home for Jewish children, now houses and provides meals to Jewish children from the Luhansk region, Jewish youth, and the elderly.
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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