Gennady Kernes
Gennady KernesReuters

Gennady Kernes, the Jewish mayor of Kharkiv in the Ukraine who was critically injured Monday, has regained consciousness, according to Ma'ariv/NRG

Kharkov municipal spokesman Yuri Sidornko told the daily that Kernes's son, who has remained by his bedside in a Haifa hospital, sent him an SMS late Thursday night saying "we've regained consciousness." 

Kernes was shot in the back by unknown assailants while on a morning jog. It remains unclear whether the motivation for the attack stems from political upheaval in Ukraine or from rising anti-Semitism there. 

Political analyst Vladimir Fessenko said Tuesday the shooting could be due to the fact Kernes had toned down his support for the Kremlin in recent weeks.

"This attack could be a signal to politicians and businessmen who are staying neutral in their region that they have to clearly choose sides," Fessenko said.

Kernes was "a strong and authoritarian leader. He pulled the strings and was a key element in the region's stability," added the analyst.

The investigation into the attack indicates thus far that the mayor was shot by a “skilled” assassin who possessed an accurate weapon. An unexploded hand grenade was also found near the scene of the crime.

Kernes was injured in the lungs, stomach, liver and spine, and doctors are fighting for his life.

The rabbi of Kharkiv, Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz, told Arutz Sheva that the mayor is "a very dear Jew, with a warm and loving connection to the community, and we are shocked by the assassination attempt.”

"We are praying for his health," he said, and urged those who wish to pray for him to mention "Moshe son of Hana.”

Israel has remained largely clear of the political struggle in Ukraine, instead choosing to provide ongoing treatment to severely wounded Ukrainian nationals embroiled in the conflict.