Ukraine Update #44: Jewish Communities of Luhansk, Donetsk, Mariupol Report  

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 11, 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 #44


NATO officials warned again today of a "high probability" of Russian military intervention in Ukraine, as Russian troops continue to amass along the joint border.


President Vladimir Putin said today that Russia is sending a humanitarian convoy to Ukraine, together with the International Red Cross Committee.


The EU and the U.S. have previously warned that Moscow might use the aid delivery as the pretext to send troops and military equipment to pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine.


During the call between President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minster David Cameron on Saturday, the leaders "agreed that any Russian intervention in Ukraine, even under purported 'humanitarian' auspices, without the formal, expressed consent and authorization of the government of Ukraine is unacceptable, violates international law, and will provoke additional consequences."


The Ukrainian army continued its offensive in Donetsk and Luhansk over the weekend. Yesterday, artillery shell fire hit several areas of Donetsk, and fighting is impacting residential areas. The Ukrainian government called on the remaining civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk to evacuate.


NCSEJ today spoke with the Jewish community representatives in Luhansk who reported an alarming situation. Last week, the community sent out an urgent message asking for help in identifying the remaining Jews of Luhansk to help them leave the combat areas. The city has been cut off from telephone service and electricity, preventing those who need help evacuating from getting information about available help. The community asked those who remained in the city to spread the message to their friends and relatives about the help available at the city synagogue.


Donetsk Jewish community reported that the fighting is affecting the city's residential areas. The local airport and railroad station have been under fire, making leaving Donetsk more difficult.


Most of the Donetsk Jewish community leadership has left the city. Jewish community members who haven't done so earlier are currently trying to leave.


The Jews of Torez, Shezhnoye and Shakhtarsk in the Donetsk region are cut off from all supplies. These are mostly elderly people, who require assistance.


The Jewish community representatives of Mariupol said that life in the city after it has been liberated from pro-Russian militants is returning to normal. The city is hosting many refugees from the areas of unrest, including Jews. The local Jewish community strives to provide refugees with food and shelter, and also instituted programming for refugees to learn about the local Jewish community.


Many members of the Jewish community of Mariupol also help displaced non-Jews who were forced to flee to the city. Mariupol Jewish youth is actively involved in this humanitarian effort, helping organize philanthropic campaigns and collecting donations for the needy.


The Jewish community of Konotop, the Sumy region in Northern Ukraine said they are concerned about potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to Ukrainian media reports, a grenade was launched from the Russian territory targeting a defense factory in Konotop. Konotop's local population expressed concerns about further attempts by the Russian military to target the Konotop defense factory and other strategic locations in the region.



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. 
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube