Hundreds of protesters stormed an airport located in Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in southern Russia, after a plane from Israel landed there Sunday, prompting Russian police to take over the airport.
Russian news outlets reported that hundreds of men stormed a tarmac at the Makhachkala airport Sunday, when a plane from Tel Aviv landed.
The protesters were reportedly looking for Israeli passengers, and there were reports that some people were examining the passports of passengers to determine where they had come from. More than 20 people were injured and 60 people were detained, according to the reports.
Some people in the crowd were seen holding signs reading, “Child killers are not welcome in Dagestan” and “We’re against Jewish refugees,” The Associated Press reported. Reuters reported that the protesters could be heard shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is Greatest,” according to videos the news wire obtained.
Israel expanded its ground operations into Gaza over the weekend — about three weeks after militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel.
The incident also takes place against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the riots at the Russian airport in a statement, characterizing it as a “part of Russia’s widespread culture of hatred toward other nations.”
“The Russian foreign minister has made a series of antisemitic remarks in the last year,” Zelensky said. “The Russian President also used antisemitic slurs. For Russian propaganda talking heads on official television, hate rhetoric is routine.”
“Even the most recent Middle East escalation prompted antisemitic statements from Russian ideologists. Russian antisemitism and hatred toward other nations are systemic and deeply rooted. Hatred is what drives aggression and terror. We must all work together to oppose hatred,” he continued.
The U.S. also condemned the riots in a statement posted by National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“The United States vigorously condemns the antisemitic protests in Dagestan, Russia. The U.S. unequivocally stands with the entire Jewish community as we witness a worldwide surge in antisemitism. There is never any excuse or justification for antisemitism,” she wrote.