Hundreds of Jewish pilgrims leave Ukraine border

Pilgrims begin to turn back after being barred from Uman ahead of Rosh Hashanah.

AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Entrance to Rebbe Nachman's tomb in Uman
Entrance to Rebbe Nachman's tomb in Uman

Hundreds of hasidic Jewish pilgrims massed along the Belarusian border hoping to enter Ukraine began leaving Friday, after Kiev upheld an entry ban citing a sharp increase in coronavirus infections.

"There are about 700 pilgrims in front of the Ukrainian checkpoint," compared to around 1,000 Thursday, Ukrainian border guard spokesman Andriy Demchenko told AFP, while Belarussian Border committee representative Anton Bychkovskiy confirmed the numbers "were on the decline."

Thousands of Jewish pilgrims descend on Uman, the burial site of hasidic sage Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, every year for the Rosh Hashanah holiday. This year the Israeli government has discouraged the mass pilgrimage in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the Ukrainian government has restricted entry to foreigners in an effort to prevent the pilgrimage from becoming a vector for a mass spread of the virus.