Ronan Farrow Daily   |  April 18, 2014

Ukraine crisis worsened by offensive leaflets

Reports of anti-Semitic leaflets being distributed in Ukraine are drawing condemnation from around the world. NBC News’ Jim Maceda and Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, join to discuss this latest development in the crisis.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back, today that desperately needed deal to avert all-out war in ukraine may already be unraveling. pro-russian separatists are refusing to disarm or turn over occupied buildings unless ukraine 's interim government steps down. both are conditions of the deal agreed to yesterday by the u.s., e.u. and russia and ukraine . president obama was among those who voiced serious doubts yesterday.

>> my hope is that we actually do see follow through over the next several days, but i don't think given past performance that we can count on that. we have to be prepared to potentially respond to what continues to be efforts of interference by the russians in eastern and southern ukraine .

>> and reports of a startling moment of discrimination inside ukraine is stoking even more fear. those reports? that jewish ukrainians standing outside a synagogue were hand the pamphlets warning all jews to register with the pro- russian government . nbc news has not independently confirmed these reports but it is causing a lot of misgivings on the grounds and in the united states . with the latest on everything is jim maceda tell us about these reports. there's been speculation that it may have been a hoax of some kind and others say it's a political ploy. do you have any idea who's responsible at this point?

>> reporter: hi, ronan, we spoke with very upset members of the jewish community about that today, including the chief rabbi of donetsk, who told me they don't know yet who is responsible. they are in touch with the police, they are in touch with the ukrainian security service who they say are looking actively for the individual or individuals behind the leaflets. a jew from brooklyn told me he was among one of those leaving for prayers two nights ago and noticed three men, they were armed and masked had and back packs and started to hand out these leavelets then leaving the scene quite quickly. the rabbi said people were shocked. they thought it looked official because he couldn't believe it was real. the leaflets then -- he decided to after reading it to test the validity of it. he sent a family out to the location mentioned in an address on leaflet to register those people to see if it was in fact real. and it was at the pro-russian protesters headquarters and they found family neither a registration going on or anyone who knew about one. now the jewish community here does believe this was a hoax, a provocation, not against the jews per se but against one side or the other of the political divide in ukraine . in other words, ronan, a pretty desperate attempt to either discredit the pro-russian separatists or government in kiev with the jews caught in the middle .

>> a lot of questions remaining but clearly troubling. thank you for that report. jewish leaders around the globe condemned the pamphlets and among them new york congressman jerry nadler . if this attack is being used for political purposes, that is a particularly manipulative and callous act in a country where the jewish community is already subject to a rise in anti-semitism. thank you for joining ugs. tell me one of the big reactions is that this is an echo of history, this part of the world was occupied by nazi germany by world war 2 roemsz.

>> there's a reference that says we're taking these steps in requiring the jews to register because leader of the jewish community supported the ban something, the pro-russian p separatist reference to the russian government . fought with the nazis against the soviets and participated in mass murders of jews . this is a deliberate reminder of ukrainian mass murder of jews aiding the nazis. and in effect, warning that if thep don't behave, any don't register, they are risking similar things. asking jews to register and pay a fee, every time it's been done historically, before it was a prelude to murder.

>> brings back a lot of painful history and we did hear accounts of people bursting into tears. what do you think this is behind this? do you think this is an effort as pro-russian pro testers to maybe discredit thlear who. it was signed allegedly by the someone, the head of the local pro-russian separatists. he denies having anything to do with it. which side put this out we don't know, it's a desperate attempt to use the jews as a pawn in and use anti-semitism in a land steeped in its history to use that as a pawn in the struggles between these two groups.

>> and of course it's yet another division in a country that can't really tolerate more divisions that seems on pt can you say cusp of falling apart.

>> that anti-semitism is strong enough if one other the other side feels it's useful to exploit.

>> it's always a troubling thing to hear. do you think this new deal has any chance of withstanding that?

>> i don't know. i'm not going to venture a guess. the initial signs are not very good but whether the russians can or want to pressure the pro-russian separatists to adhere to the deal, remains to be seen.

>> do you think this administration and president obama have done enough on ukraine and crisis there?

>> i think they've done what they can. you have to realize, it always bothers me to read people and tough guys saying -- unless you're willing to go to war or threaten to send in troops, you don't have that much leverage. i don't think we're willing to do that nor should we be. within the limits of what the capabilities of the united states , we're doing about what can be done.

>> all right, voice of caution there. thank you so much and taking a stand on the discrimination issue here. next