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Russian Jews to aid refugees from Ukraine

(JTA) — The Russian Jewish Congress has pledged $30,000 in aid for Ukrainian refugees living in Russia.

The money will go to buy food supplies, clothes and medications for needy Ukrainians who fled the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists, the Russian Jewish Congress said in a statement Monday.

The fighting, which has left hundreds of dead in several cities, broke out after Russia annexed the Crimea from Ukraine in March in reaction to the ouster of the government of President Viktor Yanukovych. He fled to Russia amid a revolution that erupted in November over his alleged corruption and perceived allegiance to Russia.

Many Ukrainians, including Jews, fled their homes because of fighting in Donetsk, Slavyansk, Lugansk and elsewhere.

While some Ukrainian Jews left for Rostov-on-Don in Russia, hundreds more became internally displaced in Ukraine, according to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, or JDC, which is providing emergency services to the displaced Jews.

According to JDC, at least 500 Jews have sought refuge in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov and Kiev in Ukraine, and Rostov.

The district of Tioumen in Russia, which is close to Yekaterinburg near the Ural Mountains, has 200 families who left Ukraine recently, according to the RIA Novosti news agency. It will be the first area in which the Russian Jewish Congress offers emergency services to the refugees, according to the report.

“For generations, Jews were forced to be refugees,” Yuri Kanner, the president of the Russian Jewish Congress, told the news agency. “This is why organizing humanitarian aid in this situation is our moral duty.”

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