The United States has strongly rejected Russia’s claims that an anti-Israel riot that occurred at an airport in Dagestan on Sunday was orchestrated by Ukraine and the West, labelling these accusations absurd.”
The incident involved hundreds of individuals storming the Makhachkala airport just before the arrival of a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel. Many in the crowd waved Palestinian flags and chanted antisemitic slogans. Dagestan, a constituent republic of Russia, has a majority Muslim population, and the riot was believed to have been triggered by anger over the conflict in Gaza.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a televised meeting on Monday, asserted that this event was part of an attempt to spread “chaos” in Russia. He further claimed that it was coordinated through social networks, implicating Ukrainian and Western agents as responsible for the unrest.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov echoed these sentiments and emphasised the ease with which adversaries can exploit such situations in the context of the Gaza conflict.
The governor of Dagestan, Sergei Melikov, also pointed fingers at alleged provocateurs operating from Ukraine. He specifically referred to a Telegram channel called “Morning Dagestan,” an Islamist channel opposed to Russian control in the region. The channel had previously been associated with Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian MP who defected to Ukraine in 2016. However, the channel denied any current connection to Mr. Ponomarev or Ukraine.
The riot at the airport involved large crowds forcibly entering the facility, disrupting operations, and spilling onto the runway. The situation led to injuries, including those of police officers.
Israel expressed its concern over the incident, expecting Russian authorities to take action against the rioters and safeguard the well-being of Israeli citizens and Jews.
The US firmly refuted any involvement in the event, emphasising the need to address hate and bigotry while denouncing the incident.