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Ukraine PM expresses outrage over anti-Jew pamphlets

AFP

Following reports that masked men were seen handing out tracts demanding Jews register or be expelled, Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called for justice.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. (Reuters)

Ukraine's prime minister over the weekend voiced outrage at reports masked men in east Ukraine's main city handed out pamphlets demanding Jews register or be expelled.

Members of the Jewish community in the pro-Russian protest hub of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine said on Friday they were left shaken by the distribution of tracts demanding the registration of Jews.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he wanted to "make a clear statement and urge the Ukrainian military and security forces and Ukrainian department of homeland security urgently to find these bastards and to bring them to justice", he said in excerpts of an interview with NBC's Meet the Press to air on Sunday.

The incident happened as around 20 Jews were leaving the synagogue after marking the second day of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The three hooded men handing out the pamphlets were carrying a Russian flag and the symbol of the separatist Republic of Donetsk.

Reports of the anti-Semitic tracts sparked international concern with US Secretary of State John Kerry branding the distribution of the pamphlets as "grotesque" and US President Barack Obama expressing "disgust".

'Disaster of this century'
Yatsenyuk also said Russian "President [Vladimir] Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union. And every day he goes further and further and doesn't know where is the final destination.

"I consider that the biggest disaster of this century would be the restoring of the Soviet Union under the auspices of President Putin," he stressed

Washington, Kiev and many Eureopean Union states see Putin as pulling the strings in Ukraine's insurgency, sending in special forces that he repeatedly denies are there.

The Kremlin has snapped back by stressing it has part of its army on Ukraine's doorstep – a declaration that appeared to be a warning shot that the situation could rapidly deteriorate if Washington were to impose further sanctions.

Washington has warned Moscow that Ukraine is in a "pivotal period" as pro-Russian rebels there refuse to comply with a Geneva accord reached on Thursday by Russia, the US, Ukraine and the EU to disarm and leave occupied public buildings.

Poland's defence minister has said US ground forces will be sent to his country to expand Nato's presence there as events unfold in neighbouring Ukraine, the Washington Post reported. – AFP

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