WASHINGTON, May 7 (RIA Novosti), Lyudmila Chernova – Only Moscow’s influence and policies can hold back violence in Ukraine, where escalating political tensions have entered a low-level hot war, says Israeli political activist Avigdor Eskin.
“The attempts of some irresponsible Western leaders to encourage the nationalistic neo-Nazi separatist trend in Ukraine is like a declaration of war,” Eskin told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
Russia may have acted in a moderate way so far, but it will not stand by if people continue to get killed on a daily basis, Eskin added.
The expert called the conflict between “Russians, Ukrainians and Jews, who want to live in peace and freedom in Ukraine” and the nationalists ruled by the Kiev government since the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych, a “civil war, which may be a very long and bloody one.”
Deadly clashes between pro-federalization supporters and Ukrainian security forces have been raging across the country’s east and south in recent weeks, killing dozens and injuring hundreds.
On Friday, some 46 federalists died after being trapped in a fire in Odessa, and over 200 others were injured in a clash between the “anti-Maidan” and “euro-Maidan” supporters in the Black Sea port in the bloodiest episode of violence since the start of the crisis in February.
Israel’s parliament has been cautious of Kiev’s ultra-nationalist Svoboda party, which Eskin said were followers of Stepan Bandera, a wartime Nazi collaborator responsible for mass murders in Ukraine.
He criticized the current leaders of the Jewish community in Ukraine for helping the Svoboda party, calling them “businessmen with shady reputations and no moral right to represent the rest.”
“The Jewish leaders in Ukraine cannot be trusted today, because they are threatened, they are not free, they are totally dependent upon oligarchs and authorities,” he said.
The Jews among the common people, although not targeted in the course of the latest events, have faced numerous anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine including murder attempts and the desecration of synagogues, Eskin said, adding the only way to avoid further conflict is to evacuate Jews from the country.
The Jerusalem Post newspaper wrote on Monday the Jewish residents in Odessa were preparing to evacuate, renting buses to take adults and children out of the city, should the violence continue to escalate. On Tuesday, however, the Russian Jewish Congress said no mass evacuation was in plan.