18 September 2020, 18:23
No Hasidic pilgrims left on Belarusian-Ukrainian border
Minsk/Kiev, September 18, Interfax - Hasidic pilgrims are going through border control in Belarus.
Practically all of them have left the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.
"As of 2:00 p.m. on September 18, the number of foreign citizens who are on the territory between the checkpoints Novaya Guta and Novi Yarylovychi is some ten people," the Belarusian State Border Guard Committee said on Friday.
The State Border Guard Committee said Belarusian border guards had increased the number of troops in shifts of border guard units at the checkpoint due to the decision made by most pilgrims to return to Belarus.
"That helped clear more than 1,000 of the said foreign citizens over the past 24 hours. They all left for Belarus in an organized way," the State Border Guard Committee said.
Ukraine's Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said later on Friday the Hasidic pilgrims, who had tried to enter Ukraine from Belarus for several days, had fully vacated the territory of the border checkpoint Novi Yarylovychi.
""The only thing left to be done is to clean the territory and the checkpoint Novi Yarylovychi can resume its work," Gerashchenko said on Facebook on Friday.
The Hasidic pilgrims tried to enter Uman, Ukraine, through Belarus. The tradition to visit Uman on the days of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) was started by Bratslav Hasids in 1810, after the death of their spiritual leader Rabbi Nachman, who was buried in that Ukrainian city.
In the meantime, the Ukrainian authorities this year imposed restrictions on entry in the country of foreign citizens and stateless persons to contain the spread of coronavirus. As a result, thousands of pilgrims could not enter Ukraine.
More than 2,500 Hasidic pilgrims are now in Belarus, and 1,200 of them are on the territories close to the Ukrainian border. They started leaving the border, going to Belarus by bus, on Friday.
Rosh Hashanah this year falls on Saturday, September 19, but Jews will start celebrating it in the evening of September 18.
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