Ukraine has accused Belarus of encouraging more Jewish pilgrims to go to their shared border even as up to 2,000 of them remain stranded there.
In a statement, Ukraine said that Belarus was “exacerbating tensions” by claiming that the pilgrims, devout Hasidic Jews who want to visit the tomb of a famous rabbi, will be able to cross the border.
On the contrary, both Ukraine and Israel have urged members of the Hasidic community not to visit Uman, the central Ukrainian town where the grave of Rabbi Nahman, the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement, is located.
“We call on the Belarusian authorities to stop [peddling] false statements that [give] the impression that the border of Ukraine can be broken open to foreigners,” Ukraine’s presidency said.
Hundreds of Hasidic Jews, including children, are currently camped out at the border of the two countries, where charities and pilgrims claim they are running out of food and medical supplies.
“We are stuck here with no money, no roof, no food or drink,” said Haim Weitshandler, 40.