The following has been issued by Stefan Oscar, executive director of JDC’s former Soviet Union operation:

“As news from Ukraine grows more worrying, we stand at the ready to maintain our humanitarian lifeline to a vulnerable population of needy Jews and Jewish communities in Ukraine. Their care and well-being are our top and enduring priorities and will remain our focus whatever scenarios develop in the region.

Today, we are already responding to a crisis of human need among them. Simmering tensions are contributing to skyrocketing inflation, food, and utility prices. The country’s poorest Jews are now facing dire choices between food, medicine, and heating as they experience a harsh winter and a possible conflict.

For weeks we have been preparing our staff, volunteers, and Hesed social welfare centers to address this need and possible emergency situations. They continue to provide life-saving food, medicine, homecare, and remote care to the tens of thousands of needy Jewish elderly and families we serve in 1,000 locations around Ukraine.

In doing so, we’re leveraging JDC’s experience from the 2014 crisis in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and our widespread presence on the ground to prepare for emerging needs, including possible displacement of people.

We pray none of this is needed, but are ever firm in our century-plus commitment to safeguard lives at times of critical need.”