image Photo: Reuters, Flash90

Russia denies attack on Ukrainian-Jewish holy site

Moscow refutes Ukrainian claims that its forces launched a strike on the town of Uman, a site of pilgrimage by tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews each year.

By Erin Viner

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Israeli lawmakers that Russia had struck Uman on the first day of the invasion on 24 February, according to a transcript of the his address to the Knesset on 20 March.

“I want to underscore that the Russian armed forces do not strike civilian targets as part of the special military operation,” Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in response to the allegation, insisting Russia had not hit any religious buildings or other places of public worship.

Tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews descend on Uman from Israel and around the world every Rosh Ha Shanah New Year to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who revived the Hasidic movement and died in 1810.

Konashenkov also showed photographs purportedly taken on 21 March of what appeared to be Ukrainian forces loading arms near a synagogue in the town. The photographs have so far not been able to be independently verified.

According to Russian Military Defense Spokesperson, his nation’s armed forces launched tactical missiles at fuel depots in eastern Ukraine to destroy two large rocket arsenals. “High-precision air-launched missiles destroyed large fuel depots in the Starokonstantinov and Khmelnitsky districts that supplied fuel for the armored vehicles of Ukrainian troops in the Donbas,” he said.