Ukrainian intelligence has issued a grave warning of a potential Russian assault on the historic city of Uman. This alarming revelation comes as a response to a report published early Thursday in Ukraine's media landscape. The cause for concern arose following intelligence gathered in Kyiv, indicating that Russia had initiated a campaign of disinformation. This disinformation campaign alleges that Ukraine harbors malicious intentions toward Hasidic Jews who are planning to visit Rebbe Nachman's sacred grave on the auspicious occasion of Rosh Hashanah.
According to directives issued by the "Center for Combating Disinformation" in Kyiv, official Russian media outlets have commenced disseminating reports suggesting that Ukraine is plotting harm against pilgrims intending to pay their respects at Rabbi Nachman's revered resting place in Uman during the upcoming Rosh Hashanah festivities. The Ukrainian authorities believe that these reports may be part of a larger scheme to lay the groundwork for a potential Russian "false flag" operation.
In a stern statement, the "Center for the War on Disinformation" calls upon the public to exercise vigilance and not succumb to foreign manipulations. They advise citizens to stay attuned to air bombardment alerts, adhere to security regulations, and rely solely on verified and trustworthy sources for information.
🇮🇱🤝🇺🇦 Uman. Ukraine. Today. 🇮🇱✊🏻🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/6pHyZ6A38a— 🇮🇱(Igal Shneiurson) יגאל שניאורסון🇮🇱 (@shneiurson) September 14, 2023
Ukraine anticipates that approximately 11,000 Hassidic pilgrims will converge upon Rebbe Nachman's resting place in the picturesque city of Uman to observe Rosh Hashanah. This sacred pilgrimage site has drawn Jews from around the world for over two centuries. It is worth noting that Uman, situated in the heart of Ukraine, lies hundreds of kilometers away from the front lines of ongoing regional conflicts. Nevertheless, it has not been immune to the devastating consequences of war, as evidenced by past Russian Air Force bombings. In a tragic incident last April, a Russian cruise missile struck a residential building in the city, resulting in the loss of 23 lives.
Kyiv's apprehensions about pilgrimages to Uman have persisted, with consistent advisories against traveling to the city since the Russian invasion last year. Uman's geographical proximity to several Ukrainian military posts has made it a target of Moscow's aggression. This has resulted in not only military casualties but also civilian suffering, with Russian airstrikes on apartment complexs.
✡️✈️ — “UMAN ROSH HASHANAH” - Flight from Israel headed to Uman, Ukraine for Rosh Hashanah. pic.twitter.com/4OeT26FdqT— Belaaz News (@TheBelaaz) September 13, 2023
The timing of this distressing news from Kyiv coincides with a recent statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which elicited strong reactions from ultra-Orthodox government coalition members. Prime Minister Netanyahu urged Israelis to exercise caution and reconsider their plans to travel to Uman, invoking a somber historical reference. He noted, "God has not always protected us, not on European soil and not on Ukrainian soil," alluding to the Holocaust and the enduring history of persecution.
In response, United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler expressed vehement disagreement, stating, "Be silent when you blame the God of Israel for your failures and crimes." He further emphasized the role of Torah observance in safeguarding Israel's existence in the volatile Middle East.