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Ukraine OKs presidential run for controversial mayor

(JTA) — A Ukrainian mayor who said Jews are to blame for all of the country’s problems can run for president.

Ukraine’s Central Elections Committee last week authorized the candidacy of Sergey Ratushniak, the mayor of Uzhgorod, for the Jan. 17 elections.

On Wednesday, 20 Israeli parliament members sent a letter to Ukrainian officials condemning the decision, the Jerusalem Post reported. The letter expressed concern that there is a "wave of anti-Semitism in the Ukraine that has come to a peak with the authorization of Ratushniak, the current mayor of Uzhgorod, to run for President."

Ratushniak "has the viewpoint of a Nazi. He denies the Holocaust, and has threatened the Jewish community. He caused an outbreak of hatred towards our people and the State of Israel," the letter says, according to the Post.

Three months ago, Ratushniak reportedly assaulted a woman, 21, as she campaigned for a political initiative near the university in Uzhgorod, located in western Ukraine at the Slovakia border. The mayor also openly made anti-Semitic statements and anti-Israel remarks.

Ratushniak was commenting on activities of the Front for Change initiative headed by parliament member Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a leading presidential candidate whose parents reportedly were Jewish, when he said, "Impudent Jew Yatsenyuk, who was successfully serving to thieves, who are at power in Ukraine, is using criminal money to plow ahead towards Ukraine’s presidency.”

Ratushniak also said that “Criminal Jew Yatsenyuk has apparently decided that these are the elections to a village council somewhere in Israel. So, using criminal money, he gathered drug traffickers and smugglers, and without the permission of the city council is showering our city with the garbage.”

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