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April 28, 2023 1:24 pm

At Least 20 Killed in Russian Airstrike on Ukrainian City of Uman With Large Jewish Presence


avatar by Andrew Bernard

Rescue workers at an apartment block damaged by a Russian missile strike in Uman, Ukraine, 28 April, 2023 (Photo: Government of Ukraine)

At least 20 people, including three children, have been killed in the historic Ukrainian city of Uman — site of the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the revered founder of the Breslover Hasidim — in a Russian missile and UAV attack on Friday.

In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for enhanced global sanctions on Russia. 

“Another night of [Russian] terror,” he said on Twitter. “Missiles and UAVs. 10 residential buildings are damaged in Uman. The entire block of one of them is destroyed.”

Shortly after the airstrike, the Russian Ministry of Defense posted an image to its Telegram channel of a missile launch with the caption “right on target.”

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Tens of thousands Hasidic Jews flock to Rabbi Nachman’s tomb in Uman each year for a pilgrimage during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Despite the ongoing war, that pilgrimage continued last year with more than 20,000 people ultimately taking part.

Russia has previously claimed that Uman’s small, permanent Jewish community is being used as a cover for “Nazi” activities in Ukraine.

“A place of Jewish worship in Uman is deliberately being exploited by the Kiev nationalist regime for military purposes in order to instigate a conflict and political pressure by Jewish religious organizations on Russia if it were fired on,” Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said in March 2022.

The United Jewish Community of Ukraine rejected the claim, saying that Russia’s “evidence” did not show the synagogue being used for military purposes.

 “Even based on a photo published for provocative purposes, it is obvious that the gates of the synagogue are closed and no one is inside,” their statement said.

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