Ukraine Update #48: Mariupol , Kharkiv, and Dnipropetrovsk Jewish communities report 

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 10, 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 #48


A ceasefire agreement signed between the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian separatists as part of the Minsk Protocol last week continues to hold, despite several violations reported by both sides.


According to Ukrainian officials, as a result of the ceasefire, violence has declined significantly in the areas of unrest in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. Seven hundred Ukrainian prisoners of war have been released, and more are expected to be freed soon. Moreover, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that close to 70% of Russian troops have left Ukrainian territory and returned to Russia.  

Yesterday, President Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone and agreed on the importance of "maintaining a steady ceasefire" in Eastern and Southern Ukraine.

In attempt to protect the ceasefire and a reach a long-term peace agreement with the separatists, President Poroshenko proposed a bill to grant Ukraine's Eastern regions a "special status" within Ukraine. Addressing the Cabinet of Ministers today, President Poroshenko said that, despite offering eastern Ukraine greater autonomy, he "will not make any concessions on issues of [Ukraine's] territorial integrity."

Domestic critics of President Poroshenko's plan believe this move toward autonomy would help Russia to create a "frozen conflict" inside Ukrainian territory, permanently destabilizing the east and south. It is also unclear whether such a move would satisfy pro-Russian separatists. Andrei Purgin, the deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said today that the rebels "are not considering remaining part of Ukraine."

EU leaders are continuing deliberations about further sanctions against Russia, which were delayed to allow more time to consider the effectiveness of the ceasefire. New U.S. sanctions against Russia have also been delayed.

Meanwhile, despite the ceasefire, the situation in the Eastern Ukraine remains fragile. NCSEJ spoke with the Jewish community representatives in Mariupol, who reported that over the weekend, pro-Russian militants continued shelling the city, though it had declined. Local Jews are still concerned about a potential return and increase of violence, and are looking for ways to leave the area.

NCSEJ has helped Mariupol Jewish community representatives to contact the Kyiv Jewish community office responsible for finding shelter for Jewish refugees. The talks between the two communities continue.

NCSEJ also spoke with Jewish community representatives in Dnipropetrovsk, who spoke about the community's continued efforts to help refugees, Ukrainian soldiers, and civilians affected by the conflict. Recently, the Dnipropetrovsk Jewish community and its partner, the Boston Jewish community, donated humanitarian and medical equipment to government-sponsored agencies, which are in dire need of essential medical equipment and services.

The Kharkiv Jewish community reported a stable situation in the city. Community representatives said that Kharkiv residents have welcomed the ceasefire and many are hopeful that the agreement will hold. The Jewish community carries on its work to support refugees from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, who continue to flee areas of unrest.

The Minsk Protocol
  1. To ensure there is an immediate bilateral ceasefire.
  2. To ensure the monitoring and verification of the regime of ceasefire by the OSCE.
  3. To conduct the decentralization of power, including through the adoption of the law of Ukraine on the temporary regulations for local government in individual districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (the law on the special status).
  4. To ensure permanent monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border and its verification by the OSCE with the formation of a security zone in the border areas of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
  5. To release immediately all hostages and illegally held people.
  6. To adopt a law prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that have taken place in some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
  7. To continue an inclusive national dialogue.
  8. To take steps to improve the humanitarian situation in Donbas.
  9. To ensure the conduct of the early local elections in compliance with the law of Ukraine on the temporary regulations for local government in individual districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (the law on the special status).
  10. To withdraw the illegal armed groups, military equipment, as well as militants and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.
  11. To adopt a program of economic revival for Donbas and restoration of living conditions and economic activities there.
  12. To provide guarantees of personal security for the participants of the consultations.
Signed by the members of the trilateral contact group: OSCE chairperson-in-office for resolving the situation in Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini, Ukraine's second president Leonid Kuchma, and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov on September 5, 2014.


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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