In response to reports of demands that Jewish residents of Donetsk, Ukraine register with the government and pay fees or risk serious penalties, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Reports that Jewish residents of Donetsk, Ukraine received notices telling them to register with authorities and pay fees or risk loss of citizenship and deportation are deeply concerning. After speaking with experts in the field, it has not been established whether this was the result of action by Ukrainians or by pro-Russian activists, designed to use the Jews of Donetsk as pawns in the ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine.
While the facts will need to be verified as soon as possible, we note with alarm that throughout the past several months of unrest between Ukraine and Russia, incidents of anti-Semitism, alleged and real, have been asserted by those seeking political advantage. We condemn in the strongest of terms any acts of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and elsewhere, as well as any requirement that Jews register and pay fines to live as citizens in their own country. We call on all sides to ensure that the Ukrainian Jewish community, like all the people of Ukraine, remains safe and secure. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and continue to call for a swift and peaceful resolution of the broader dispute.