National Security Advisor Susan Rice on Friday said that President Obama expressed his "disgust" after hearing reports that Jewish residents in eastern Ukraine had been told to register with pro-Russian militia groups.
“The president expressed his disgust quite bluntly,” Rice told reporters.
“We all found word of those pamphlets to be utterly sickening,” she continued, saying that such actions “have no place in the 21st century.”
“We have conveyed that very forcefully to all concerned,” added Rice.
Reports on Thursday said that Jewish citizens in the Ukrainian town of Donetsk, where pro-Russian groups have seized control of buildings and territory, had been given leaflets ordering them to register with the leaders of separatist groups. The pro-Russian group identified denied involvement, reports said.
The White House on Friday said they did not know who was responsible for the leaflets.
“I don't think we have specific confirmed information about who produced them,” said press secretary Jay Carney. “Their mere presence is highly disturbing.”
“This is not just intolerable; it's grotesque, is beyond unacceptable,” Kerry told reporters in Geneva, where he attended talks on the Ukrainian crisis.
“Any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities, from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of, there is no place for that, and unanimously every party today joined in this condemnation of that kind of behavior,” he added.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill also pressed the administration to do more to protect Jewish citizens in Ukraine.
“I urge you to do everything possible to ensure that Jewish and other minority communities throughout the country are protected from any form of prejudice,” Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., wrote Thursday in a letter to Kerry.