Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk, told Ynet she never experienced anti-Semitism in the city until she saw this leaflet.
"We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists," she said. "The text reminds me of the fascists in 1941," she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II.
The Jewish community in Donetsk issued a statement saying the leaflet distribution “smells like a provocation.” The chief rabbi of nearby Dnipropetrovsk, Shmuel Kaminezki said, “Everything must be done to catch them.”
"It’s important for everyone to know its not true," Kaminezki told CNN. "The Jews of Donetsk will not do what the letter says."
Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it’s unclear whether the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp.
But he said the Russian side has used the specter of anti-Semitism in a cynical manner. Russia and its allies in Ukraine have issued multiple stories about the threat posed to Jews by Ukraine’s new pro-Western government in Kiev, Salberg said.
"The message is a message to all the people that is we’re going to exert our power over you," he said. "Jews are the default scapegoat throughout history for despots to send a message to the general public: Don’t step out of line."