As of Friday morning, the number of Hasidic pilgrims in front of Novi Yarylovychi checkpoint on the border with Belarus has slightly decreased, and now there are about 700 people, said the speaker of the State Border Service of Ukraine Andriy Demchenko.
“As of 10:00, we have information that the number of foreign pilgrims has slightly decreased. If yesterday morning and evening there were about a thousand of them, then at the moment there may be about 700 of them,” said Demchenko to the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Friday.
He also said that he hopes that the pilgrims heeded to the calls of the State Border Service.
‘It’s radical to say that they left largely – we do not observe such a situation yet, and we do not have such information. But we hope that those foreigners nevertheless heeded to the explanations that our employees gave them, emphasizing that the decision to ban entry for foreigners will not be revised until September 28 and they will not be able to enter the territory of our state, taking into account the fact that the purpose of their trip was a pilgrimage, which does not fall under the category of exceptions for foreigners who can enter the territory of our country,” Demchenko said.
The speaker also reported that pilgrims are trying to get to Ukraine through other checkpoints, but these are isolated cases, and after arriving at the passport control line, they are denied entry and return back.
“This situation happens every day, through other checkpoints along the state border in general. But these are single citizens or very small groups of foreigners. When they arrive at the passport control line, they are denied entry and return back,” Demchenko said.
In turn, the official representative of the State Border Committee of Belarus Anton Bychkovsky said that about 600 Hasidic pilgrims out of about 1,200 who were blocked at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border have left it and are returning deep into Belarus.
“Now 570 Hassid pilgrims are leaving the border,” Bychkovsky said.
According to him, after passing through passport control, the pilgrims get on buses and leave the border deep into Belarus.
Earlier, hundreds of Hasidic pilgrims gathered near Novi Yarylovychi – Nova Huta checkpoint, wishing to get to the Ukrainian city of Uman to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Belarusian border guards allowed the pilgrims to pass, but Ukrainian border guards did not allow them to enter the territory of Ukraine due to restrictions on the entry of foreign citizens and stateless persons into the country, introduced in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Hungary will open all checkpoints on the border with Ukraine from Monday, June 29, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Peter Szijjarto has said.
“On Monday, next week, we will open all checkpoints between Hungary and Ukraine… Thus, we will ensure the movement across the border. However, the rules of entering another country will remain in effect,” he said during a joint press briefing with his Ukrainian counterpart, following the fourth meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Ukrainian-Hungarian Commission on Economic Cooperation in Kyiv on Thursday.
The minister also said that the rules for entering Hungary will not change: Hungarian citizens will be able to enter the country without restrictions, and Ukrainians will transit Hungary or move at a maximum distance of 30 kilometers for 24 hours.
Szijjarto noted that he could not voice the dates of resumption of air and railway traffic between Ukraine and Hungary so far.
The operation of the Solotvyno-Sighetu Marmatiei checkpoint on the Ukrainian-Romanian border was resumed from 18:00 on Wednesday, June 17, the State Border Service of Ukraine said.
“According to the Romanian Border Police, admission to the territory of Romania will be provided for citizens who are officially employed in Romania and have supporting documents (without passing a mandatory observation) and persons in transit (within 48 hours),” the service said in a statement.
The remaining categories of people arrived in Romania have to pass a procedure of observation.
“We emphasize that foreigners are allowed to enter Ukraine with the obligatory presence of medical insurance, which provides for COVID-19 treatment and observation. For people arriving in Ukraine from countries with a significant [coronavirus] COVID-19 outbreak, observation or self-isolation with Diy Vdoma (Act at Home) application is provided,” the State Border Service said.
On the night of June 16, the Border Guard of the Republic of Poland (PBG) announced the resumption of vehicle traffic through the Medyka checkpoint,” the State Border Service of Ukraine has said. “On the same night, the State Border Service of Ukraine provided the possibility of passenger and truck vehicles to pass through the Shehyni checkpoint, opposite the Polish Medyka checkpoint,” the service said in a statement.
As of Tuesday morning, four checkpoints for motor service operate at the border with Poland, namely Krakovets-Korchova, Rava-Ruska-Hrebenne, Yahodyn-Dorohusk and Shehyni-Medyka.Pedestrian crossing is available only through the Shehyni-Medyka checkpoint, where from the beginning of June there has been an increase in passenger throughput and crowding in front of the Polish checkpoint due to durable control and sanitary measures.
“In this regard, the State Border Service initiates and provides the measures to expand opportunities and improve the conditions for citizens to cross the border with Poland,” the service said in the statement.
Ukraine has opened all border checkpoints at airports, Boryspil International Airport (Kyiv region) has accepted its first flight on the route Minsk (Belarus)-Kyiv.
According to Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Krykliy, Lufthansa flights are planned this week on the route Frankfurt-Kyiv-Frankfurt, KLM on the route Amsterdam-Kyiv-Amsterdam, SWISS International Airlines on the Zurich-Kyiv-Zurich route, Belavia on the route Minsk-Kyiv-Minsk.
In addition, according to the minister, Wizz Air Hungary plans from June 16 to fly from Ukraine to Austria, Latvia, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Portugal, Denmark, Greece, Lithuania, Slovakia, Estonia and the United Kingdom, it has already received the relevant permits. And from June 21, the Irish company Ryanair plans to fly from Kyiv to Barcelona, Madrid and Krakow (permits for flights are expected).
Ukrainian companies will begin to carry out international flights from June 22, the minister said.
Charges brought in a case opened into the embezzlement of state funds allocated for the construction of fortifications, also known as Project Wall, along the border with Russia have been forwarded to the Darnytsky District Court of Kyiv. “Charges have been filed against three officials of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, three directors of contractor firms and two intermediaries. A total of eight people will go on trial,” the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine said on its Facebook page.
These persons are suspected of embezzling Ukrainian budget money allocated for efforts to equip the Russian-Ukrainian state border, territories adjoining the zone of the anti-terrorist operation in Donbas and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the post said.
Investigators have established that Ukrainian State Border Guard Service officials, acting in complicity and with the help of companies, misappropriated UAH 16.688 million (over $630,000) worth of budget funds.
Project Wall includes the construction of fortifications along the Russian-Ukrainian state border and in territories adjoining the area of the anti-terrorist operation in Donbas.
In February 2019, Ukrainian State Border Guard Service spokesman Oleh Slobodian estimated the readiness of Project Wall at around 30% at that time.