Jewish pilgrims retreat from Ukrainian border

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Jewish pilgrims retreat from Ukrainian border

After being stuck at the Ukrainian border for days due to coronavirus restrictions, thousands of Hasidic Jews have turned back without reaching their destination, the grave of a revered rabbi

About 2,000 ultra-Orthodox Jewish pilgrims had traveled through Belarus in hope of reaching the Ukrainian city of Uman to visit the grave of Nachman of Breslov, an important Hasidic rabbi who died in 1810.

At the same time, Ukraine’s border guards agency said Friday that it turned back several Hasidic pilgrims who tried to enter the country from Poland, Hungary and Romania.

As the pilgrims spent days stuck on the Ukrainian border, Ukraine and Belarus engaged in angry bickering over the standoff.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s presidential office accused Belarusian authorities of issuing misleading signals to the pilgrims that they would eventually be allowed to cross the border. Belarusian officials shot back accusing Ukraine of “inhumane” treatment of the pilgrims, and offered to provide buses to drive the pilgrims to Uman and back to Belarus.


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