Over 1K Hasidic pilgrims stuck at Belarus-Ukraine border

Tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews annually travel to the Ukrainian city of Uman to honor the memory of Tzadik Nachman. But this year the pandemic has made its adjustments: more than a thousand people are stuck at the border, according to the Homiel community.

Hundreds of Jews are stuck on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.
Photo: Homiel community.

Almost a thousand people are at the border

Recently, about a thousand pilgrims from Israel, who were heading for the Ukrainian Uman, were stuck at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. They passed the Belarusian border without problems but faced issues on the Ukrainian side. Now at the checkpoint Novaya Guta there are about 800 Israeli citizens who adhere to Hasidic Judaism.

Orthodox Jews.
Photo: pixabay.com

As the official representative of the State Border Committee, Anton Bychkouski, told Belsat, all Israeli citizens were registered to leave Belarus, but the neighboring side would not let them through due to its own restrictions. About a hundred more people were stuck at the Mokhro border checkpoint in the Pinsk region.

The fact is that Ukraine closed its borders for entry to foreigners until September 28. Air traffic between Ukraine and Israel was terminated. That is why the pilgrims decided to go through the territory of Belarus, which did not close its borders.

Ukraine would not let them in

“Foreign citizens continue to stay on the territory of Belarus between the Ukrainian and Belarusian checkpoints after they have been provided with all the necessary explanations from the Ukrainian border guards. At the same time, the State Border Guard Service was forced to restrict the passage of vehicles and citizens at the Novye Yarilovichi checkpoint, given that the presence of a large number of foreigners, in fact, on the roadway makes it difficult for cars to move and may endanger the lives of citizens,” the official page of the border committee of Ukraine says.

Ukrainian border guards prevent Hasids from entering the territory of Ukraine.

Now all vehicles going from Ukraine to Belarus are being redirected to other checkpoints.

The Border Committee of Belarus notes that all pilgrims can return to the territory of Belarus.

“We are ready to promptly let them in in order to prevent detentions and inconveniences, because among the pilgrims there are children, as well as many elderly people,” explains Anton Bychkouski.

All Jews professing Hasidism assume it is their duty to visit the grave of Tzadik Nachman – there is a belief that this will help make the year happy.

Tens of thousands of people come to Uman every year. For example, in 2018, the number of pilgrims reached 100,000.