Igor Shatkhin, the assistant of Rabbi Avraham Wolf, the Chief Rabbi of Odessa, says that the situation on the ground in Ukraine is very grave, with the threat of a Russian invasion looming over the country and over its Jewish community.

To ensure the safety of the Ukrainian Jewish community, they are “working now on two fronts,” Shatkhin tells Israel National News.

“One front is spiritual. We want to ensure people’s peace of mind that everything will be okay,” he says. “At the same time, we're also working on the material [aspect]. We have purchased tons of food just to be sure that we have food in case of a Russian invasion.”

They are focusing on ways to strengthen the community in case there is an invasion.

Click here to support the Jewish community in Ukraine

“We supply an assistance in two ways. One one way is a spiritual way, we are asking our members to pray for peace, so that the G-d will make it okay,” he explains. “At the same time we have also purchased tons of food. In case of invasion we have purchased sleeping bags, food, rice, sugar and flour.”

He explains that the leaders of the community want Ukraine’s Jews to stay in the country and not to leave for Israel.

“We have a lot of Jews here and we don't want to make them to go to Israel because we have a all the conditions for all kinds of Jews in Ukraine. We have a lot of institutions – educational institutions – here in Ukraine, and every Jew can feel like a strong member of society.”

Shatkhin says that there are Jewish communal organizations and a society in Ukraine for all aspects of Jewish life.

“The Jewish community covers all aspects of Jewish life here in Odessa. You can be born here, you can have a brit milah, go to Jewish kindergarten, and after continue to a Jewish school, Jewish university, [have a] Jewish wedding – you know every aspect of life.”

There is currently a fundraising campaign worldwide to make sure the community has what it needs in this time of crisis. One of the goals is to make sure they have enough food and sleeping bags in case of a Russian invasion.

“Because in the case of an invasion a lot of refugees will come to Odessa, and also from eastern Ukraine,” he says.

Click here to support the Jewish community in Ukraine

They are receiving monetary help from around the world.

“We have purchased with this tons of food. I pray to G-d that we will use it in a normal way without war because we have thousands of students here in Ukraine, including a children's home, Jewish schools – students all over Ukraine are studying here, living here,” Shatkhin adds.