Up to 1,000 Orthodox Jews have found themselves trapped in no-man’s land between Belarus and Ukraine, unable to finish an annual pilgrimage to the town of Uman, the Ukrainian birthplace of the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.
Ukraine has imposed a one-month ban on foreigners entering the country, and the authorities have said that they can not make an exception for the pilgrims, many of whom have travelled from Israel to mark the Jewish New Year, from September 18-20.
According to the BBC, both the Ukrainian and Israeli governments had asked the organisers to forego the visit this year due to a spike on coronavirus infections. A further 2,000 pilgrims are expected, after travelling through Belarus.
Head of Ukraine’s border service Serhiy Deyneko told the pilgrims trapped at the Novi Yarylovychi crossing: “I don’t know who promised to whom the passage of 3,000 citizens. You were deceived.”
The President of Belarus has issued orders that the travellers be provided with food and water.
PHOTO: Head of Ukraine’s border service Serhiy Deyneko talks to pilgrims at the border