US Rejects Putin’s Allegation of Western Involvement in Dagestan Anti-Semitic Riot

UNITED STATES/RUSSIA: The United States has brushed off as “absurd” Russia’s allegations that the West and Ukraine were behind Sunday’s anti-Israel brawl at a Dagestan airport.

During a televised meeting on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the incident was part of an effort to sow “choas” within the country.

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Hundreds of individuals stormed the Makhachkala airport prior to the arrival of a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, with many waving Palestinian flags and voicing antisemitic slogans.

The incident is believed to have been triggered by anger over the conflict in Gaza and occurred in Dagestan, a constituent republic of Russia with a predominantly Muslim population.

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Local authorities have reported that security forces successfully managed to restore order in the situation, resulting in the subsequent arrest of over 60 individuals.

Putin said during Russia’s Security Council meeting, that Western special services operatives used social media, including those in Ukraine, to incite last night’s events in Makhachkala.

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“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,” he added.

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

Sergei Melikov, the governor of Dagestan, alleged that the riots were provoked “from the territory of Ukraine by traitors,” using a Telegram channel named “Morning Dagestan.”

Morning Dagestan is an Islamist channel known for its opposition to Russian control in the region and has been linked to Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian MP who defected to Ukraine in 2016 and obtained Ukrainian citizenship.

On a Sunday, Morning Dagestan shared flight information about arrivals from Tel Aviv to Makhachkala and encouraged its followers to “meet the unexpected visitors.”

After Melikov’s remarks, the channel issued a statement denying any connection to Ponomarev or Ukraine. Ponomarev claims that he stopped backing the channel last year, although his recent statements have contradicted this assertion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denounced the airport riot.

When questioned about Russia’s assertions at a White House briefing, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby called them “classic Russian rhetoric.”

“When something goes bad in your country, you blame somebody else. The West had nothing to do with this. This is just hate, bigotry, and intimidation, pure and simple,” he said.

He further remarked that likening the airport footage to the violent outbreaks during the late 19th and early 20th centuries was “apt.”

Widespread videos on social media depicted a significant crowd of individuals forcefully entering the airport, prying open doors, and spilling onto the runway.

Some individuals were also observed stopping cars outside the airport and demanding to inspect passengers’ documents, seemingly in search of Israeli passports.

Russia’s health ministry reported that 20 people, including a few police officers, had suffered injuries, with two in critical condition.

Following the incident, Melikov stated that “all Dagestanis empathise with the suffering of victims by the actions of unrighteous people” while calling the events at the airport “outrageous”.

A statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed that the Israeli government viewed any attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews worldwide “with the utmost seriousness.”

“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 stated.

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