Anti-Semitic flyer sparks outrage in Ukraine's east
Saturday, April 19, 2014
DONETSK, Ukraine - A leaflet with anti-Semitic undertones, which were distributed last week allegedly by pro-Russian groups in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, has triggered outrage within the Jewish community in Ukraine.
Flyers ordering Jews to register with pro-Russian separatists were distributed by masked men outside of Donetsk’s main synagogue, according to Ukraine’s Donbass news agency.
The leaflets threatened them to face deportation unless they made a list of property they own and paid a registration fee.
They also carried the seal of ‘Donetsk People's Republic’ together with a number of Russian symbols.
Pinchas Vichetski, a senior rabbi and community leader in eastern Ukraine, said Jews were uneasy over the latest developments but they did not fear.
"Ukraine is a country with established laws; police and other security forces have a duty to protect us,” he told an Anadolu Agency correspondent.
Meanwhile, pro-Russian groups denied that the leaflets were penned by them. Denis Vladimirovich Puchilin, a Donetsk leader who has his signature on the fliers, said that the document was prepared as a smear campaign against people who want a union with Russia.
Eastern Ukraine, the last center of the conflicts in months-long Ukrainian crisis, is home to about 20,000 Jews.
Latest developments in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking regions reminiscent of the February incidents in Crimea, where armed pro-Russian men seized government buildings following former president Viktor Yanukovych's ouster.
In another development, Ukrainian Unian news agency reported on Saturday that Ukrainian soldiers had recaptured two of the six armored vehicles seized by pro-Russian gunmen.
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