16 September 2020, 17:18
Ukraine urges Belarus to stop raising tensions on border, not to make false statements to Hasidic pilgrims (updated)
Kiev, September 16, Interfax - The Office of the Ukrainian President has called on the Belarusian authorities to stop heightening tensions on the border between the two countries and not to spread false encouraging statements among Hasidic pilgrims.
"We urge the Belarusian authorities to stop causing additional tensions on the border with our state and not to circulate false encouraging statements among the pilgrims that may lead them to believe that Ukraine may open its border to foreigners," the presidential office said in a statement on Wednesday, addressing the situation surrounding the Hasidic pilgrims present on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.
Up to 2,000 Hasidic pilgrims are currently on the border between Belarus and Ukraine, the statement said.
Most of them arrived from Israel, believing rumors that the Ukrainian border with Belarus is allegedly open.
"The authorities of Belarus are fanning these rumors, either intentionally or unintentionally, with some of their ill-considered statements," it said.
Ukraine made a decision to close its state border to foreigners in response to a considerable worsening of the Covid-19 situation, the statement said.
"Strict quarantine restrictions also remain in force in the territory of our state, a circumstance which makes holding mass events, including those of a religious nature, impossible. Furthermore, in the spring, we had to limit people's participation in Easter celebrations. And we're explaining today that any large-scale celebration of Rosh Hashanah in Uman in the Cherkasy Region of Ukraine involving thousands of pilgrims is, unfortunately, not possible, either," it said.
The personal grudges of certain representatives of the de facto Belarusian authorities are currently affecting relations between the states, the statement said.
"We'd like to remind everyone that Ukraine has taken a neutral stance on the political crisis provoked by the dubiously organized voting process during the election of the president of the Republic of Belarus on August 9 of this year. We support the democratic values generally recognized on the European continent and believe that each state must abide by its obligations to fully observe the human rights and freedoms guaranteed by international conventions and the relevant national legislation, which also exists in Belarus, at least formally," it said.
During the pandemic, each state should pursue a transparent and responsible policy aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19 and should refrain from provoking the epidemic situation to play out negatively in neighboring countries, the statement said.