Odessa’s Jews are prepared to evacuate should the violence in the western Ukrainian city get significantly worse, several community leaders told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
Odessa’s Jewish community numbers some 30,000, down from nearly 40 percent of the city’s population before the Holocaust.
Running street battles between pro-Russian and nationalist forces claimed dozens of lives in the Black Sea port this weekend, culminating in the burning of dozens of pro-Russian protesters in the city’s trade union building on Friday evening.
The Odessa bloodshed came on the same day that Kiev launched its biggest push yet to reassert its control over separatist areas in the east, hundreds of kilometers away, where armed pro-Russian rebels have proclaimed a “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”
While Jewish community leaders are unanimous in asserting that the violence is unconnected to the Jewish community and that they do not feel specially targeted, they agreed that, should the situation deteriorate, it would be easy for the spillover to affect their constituents.
Read more: J Post