US Rejects Putin Claim That West Organised Anti-Jewish Airport Mob

The US has dismissed as “absurd” claims by Russia that an anti-Israel riot at a Dagestan airport on Sunday was organised by Ukraine and the West.

In a televised meeting on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the incident had been part of an attempt to spread “chaos” in Russia.

Hundreds stormed the Makhachkala airport ahead of the arrival of a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel.

Many waved Palestinian flags and chanted antisemitic slogans.

Dagestan, a constituent republic of Russia, has a majority Muslim population, and the incident is thought to have been sparked by anger over the conflict in Gaza.

Security forces eventually brought the situation under control, and more than 60 people have since been arrested, according to local authorities.

“The events in Makhachkala last night were instigated through social networks, not least from Ukraine, by the hands of agents of Western special services,” Mr Putin told a meeting of Russia’s Security Council.

“Who is organising the deadly chaos and who benefits from it today, in my opinion, has already become obvious.

“It is the current ruling elites of the US and their satellites who are the main beneficiaries of world instability.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “against the backdrop of TV footage showing the horrors of what is happening in the Gaza Strip – the deaths of people, children, old people – it is very easy for enemies to take advantage of and provoke the situation”.

The governor of Dagestan, Sergei Melikov, also said the riots had been incited “from the territory of Ukraine by traitors” using a Telegram channel called Morning Dagestan.

Morning Dagestan is an Islamist channel that opposes Russian control of the region and has been associated with Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian MP who defected to Ukraine in 2016 and was granted Ukrainian citizenship.

On Sunday, the channel posted the details of a flight arriving in Makhachkala from Tel Aviv and told its followers to “meet the unexpected visitors”.

Following Mr Melikov’s comments, the channel posted a statement saying it had no connection to Mr Ponomarev or Ukraine. Mr Ponomarev has said he stopped supporting the channel last year, although his own statements in recent months contradict this claim.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned the airport riot.

Asked about Russia’s claims at a White House briefing, John Kirby, spokesperson for the US National Security Council, described them as “classic Russian rhetoric”.

“When something goes bad in your country, you blame somebody else,” he said.

“The West had nothing to do with this. This is just hate, bigotry and intimidation, pure and simple.”

He also said comparisons between footage from the airport and the pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th century were “apt”.

Video circulated widely on social media showed a large crowd of people storming through the airport, forcing open doors and spilling out onto the runway.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, 30 OctoberIMAGE SOURCE,EPA Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking on Monday


Some were also seen stopping cars outside and demanding to see the passengers’ documents in an apparent search for Israeli passports.

Russia’s health ministry said 20 people, including some police officers, had sustained injuries and that two were in a critical condition.

After the incident, Mr Melikov said that “all Dagestanis empathise with the suffering of victims by the actions of unrighteous people” but described the events at the airport as “outrageous”.

A statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli government viewed “with utmost gravity attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews anywhere”.

“Israel expects the Russian legal authorities to safeguard the well-being of all Israeli citizens and Jews wherever they are and to take strong action against the rioters,” it said.





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