Coronavirus: Ukraine accuses Belarus over stranded Jewish pilgrims

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picture copyrightReuters

picture captionThe pilgrims hope that Ukraine will relent and permit them in

Ukraine has accused Belarus of stoking rigidity over lots of of Hasidic Jewish pilgrims stranded at their border.

The workplace of Ukraine’s president mentioned Belarus was spreading false hope that the pilgrims might cross. Belarus desires a hall to be opened for them.

The pilgrims are attempting to journey to the city of Uman for the Jewish New Year, to pay respects on the tomb of the founding father of a Hasidic motion.

Ukraine has closed its borders to foreigners to restrict Covid-19.

The restrictions apply from 28 August to 28 September.

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Ukraine-Belarus relations soured after Ukraine joined the EU in refusing to recognise the re-election of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko final month.

Israel, in the meantime, is the primary nation to impose a second nationwide Covid-19 lockdown – set to begin on Friday – after a big spike in infections.

How did the scenario come up?

Every yr 1000’s of pilgrims, lots of them from Israel, make the journey to Uman on Jewish New Year, which in 2020 runs from 18 to 20 September. They go to the tomb of Rabbi Nahman, the founding father of the Breslov Hasidic motion.

The pilgrims set off regardless of calls from each the Ukrainian and Israeli governments for them to not journey this yr due to coronavirus issues.

picture copyrightReuters
picture captionMany pilgrims have made it to the tomb in Uman

Thousands are reported to be already in Uman.

But others travelling largely through Minsk have been stopped on the Belarus-Ukraine border by Ukrainian guards. The numbers fluctuate however some estimates put the determine at over 2,000 at varied border factors.

What have Ukraine and Belarus mentioned?

The workplace of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned: “We name on the Belarusian authorities to cease creating extra rigidity on the border with our nation and never make false encouraging bulletins for pilgrims, which might give them the impression that Ukraine’s border might nonetheless be open to foreigners.”

The head of the Ukrainian border guard service, Sergiy Deyneko, mentioned greater than 3,000 pilgrims might quickly be at border factors within the Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Volyn areas.

The workplace of Mr Lukashenko accused Ukraine of “shutting its borders” and stranding lots of.

On Tuesday he mentioned there ought to be a “inexperienced hall” so pilgrims might get to Uman on buses after which be ferried again to Belarus.

Ukrainian authorities mentioned water and kosher meals was being equipped however the Belarus Red Cross Society mentioned the pilgrims didn’t have “sufficient assets to make sure their fundamental wants”.

What are the pilgrims saying?

One caught on the border, Haim Weitshandler, instructed Agence France-Presse it was a “humanitarian disaster”, with “sick and hungry folks” omitted for days within the rain and chilly.

“We are caught right here with no cash, no roof, no meals or drink,” the 40-year-old mentioned.

Pilgrims have been resting together with the street, blocked off by border guards.

Some had arrange makeshift tents, whereas others slept on their baggage in entrance of lorries.

picture copyrightEPA
picture captionA pilgrim stranded between the Noviye Yarylovichi and Novaya Guta border factors

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