(NEWSER) – Masked militiamen in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk are handing out fliers demanding that Jews register with the self-proclaimed pro-Russian separatist government there, Jews in the area tell Ynet News. The leaflet explains that because Jews “supported the Bendentry Junta,” meaning the nationalist movement that supported Ukrainian independence following World War II, “and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk,” they must register all their property, and pay a $50 fee, or else lose their citizenship and property, and face deportation.
The masked men, who according to Haaretz carried a Russian Federation flag, waited outside synagogues and handed out the fliers following Passover prayers. The letter bears the supposed signature of Denis Pushilin, self-proclaimed chairman of the separatist government. Pushilin acknowledged that the fliers are going around, but denies involvement, USA Today reports. John Kerry condemned the letters as “grotesque” and “beyond unacceptable.” An Anti-Defamation League official says anti-Semitism has been a current running through the separatist movement.