President Zelensky has described an incident on Sunday evening in which a Russian mob stormed an airport hunting for Jews as “appalling,” saying it demonstrated “Russia's widespread culture of hatred toward other nations, which is propagated by state television, pundits and authorities.”

What actually happened?

On Sunday evening a large mob overran an airport in Russia's Caucasus republic of Dagestan after rumors spread that a flight was arriving from Israel.

Dozens of protesters, many of them chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), broke through doors and barriers at Makhachkala airport, with some charging onto the runway, according to videos posted on social media and Russia's RT and Izvestia media.


The website Flightradar indicated that a Red Wings flight out of Tel Aviv had landed at Makhachkala at 7:00 pm (16:00 GMT), AFP reports.

The independent Russian media outlet Sota said it was a transiting flight that had been due to take off again for Moscow two hours later.

Several local Telegram channels showed photos and videos of dozens of men waiting outside the airport stopping cars.

One protester appeared in the videos holding a sign that read: “Child killers have no place in Dagestan.”

Other videos showed a crowd inside an airport terminal trying to break down doors as staff members tried to deter them while other people tried to topple a truck.

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Was anyone hurt?

A statement from the republic's health ministry said there had been injuries, but did not elaborate on how many or who had been hurt.

Russia’s Interior Ministry announced on Monday morning that police had taken control of the airport and 60 people had been arrested.

Russia's aviation agency Rosaviatsiya said the airport would remain closed until Nov. 6.

Was it an isolated incident?

No. The RIA Novosti news agency reported on Sunday that a Jewish center in another North Caucasus republic – Kabardino-Balkaria – had been set on fire in the city of Nalchik.


What prompted the attack?

The ongoing situation in the Middle East. Hamas militants stormed across the Gaza border on Oct. 7 in the deadliest attack in Israel's history, indiscriminately killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping 230 others, according to Israeli officials.

Israel has retaliated by relentlessly bombing Gaza, killing more than 8,000 people, half of them children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

The Dagestan government posted on Telegram appealing to those involved to stop their “illegal acts” despite their anger over the “inhumane massacre of a civilian population – the Palestinian people.

“At the same time, we urge residents of the republic not to succumb to provocations of destructive groups and not to create panic in society.”

Sergei Melikov, the republic's governor, posted on Telegram later Sunday saying: “All Dagestanis empathize with the suffering of victims by the actions of unrighteous people and politicians and pray for peace in Palestine.

“But what happened at our airport is outrageous and should receive the appropriate assessment from law enforcement. This will be done.”


How has the world reacted?

President Zelensky, expressing concern at the “appalling” videos posted on social media, said on X, formerly Twitter that it was not an isolated incident. It was, he said, “part of Russia's widespread culture of hatred toward other nations, which is propagated by state television, pundits and authorities.”

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office on Sunday evening said: “Israel expects the Russian authorities to protect all Israeli citizens and all Jews, and to act decisively against the rioters and against incitement to violence against Jews and Israelis.”

White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on X: “The United States vigorously condemns the antisemitic protests in Dagestan, Russia.

“The US unequivocally stands with the entire Jewish community as we witness a worldwide surge in antisemitism.”

Earlier Sunday, Akhmed Dudayev, the minister of information in Dagestan's neighbor Chechnya, warned on Telegram against “provocations” and called for calm in the face of rising tensions in the Caucasus.

Anything else I need to know?

Dagestan is Russia's southernmost territory and one of its poorest regions.


It has taken an active part in the Ukraine offensive – with independent reports showing it has sent proportionally more men to Ukraine than many regions in which more ethnically Russian reside.

In his statement, Melikov said the mob had betrayed Dagestanis who were “representing the republic with dignity” while fighting in Ukraine.

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