Ukraine has accused Belarus of tension over hundreds of Hasidic Jewish pilgrims stranded on its border.
The office of the President of Ukraine said that Belarus was spreading false hopes that the pilgrims could cross. Belarus wants a corridor to be opened for them.
To pay tribute to the tomb of the founder of the Hadithic movement, pilgrims are traveling to the city of Uman for the Jewish New Year.
Ukraine has closed its borders to foreigners to limit Kovid-19.
The restrictions are in force from 28 August to 28 September.
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Ukraine-Belarus relations soured after Ukraine’s refusal to recognize re-election of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko last month.
Meanwhile, Israel is the first country to impose a second nationwide Kovid-19 lockdown, which will begin on Friday – following a major spike in transitions.
How did the situation arise?
Every year thousands of pilgrims, many of them from Israel, travel to Uman on the Jewish New Year, which runs from 18 to 20 September in 2020. He visits the tomb of Rabbi Nahman, the founder of the Brablow Hasidic movement.
The pilgrims turned down despite calls from both the Ukrainian and Israeli governments for them to travel this year due to coronovirus concerns.
There are reported to be thousands in Uman.
But others traveling through Minsk are intercepted at the Belarus-Ukraine border by Ukrainian guards. The numbers vary but some estimates place the figure at over 2,000 at various boundary points.
What has Ukraine and Belarus said?
The office of Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, said: “We call on the Belarusian authorities to stop creating additional tension on the border with our country and do not make falsely encouraging declarations for the pilgrims, which may make them realize that Ukraine ‘S range may still be open. Foreigners. “
The head of the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, Sergi Dyneko, said that soon more than 3,000 pilgrims could be at the border points in the Chernihiv, Zytomir and Wolin regions.
Mr Lukashenko’s office accused Ukraine of “closing its borders” and trapping hundreds.
On Tuesday, he said there should be a “Green Corridor” to allow pilgrims to board the Uman buses and then return to Belarus.
Ukrainian officials said water and kosher food were being supplied, but the Belarus Red Cross Society said that the pilgrims “do not have enough resources to ensure their basic needs”.
What are the pilgrims saying?
Ham Weitzshundler, one stranded at the border, told Agnes France-Presse that it was a “humanitarian catastrophe”, with “sick and hungry people” venturing out on rainy and cold days.
“We are not taking any money, no roof, no food or drink,” said the 40-year-old.
Pilgrims were resting on the side of the road, blocked by border guards.
Some had installed a makeshift tent, while others slept on their belongings in front of the lorry.