White House national security spokesperson John Kirby on Monday bashed Russian President Vladimir Putin for not condemning the protest that took place at a Russian airport when a plane landed there from Israel.
A crowd stormed the airport in Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in southern Russia, reportedly looking for Israeli passengers. Russian police took over the airport in response, and Putin on Monday called a meeting of security officials to discuss the incident.
Kirby called the scene a “chilling demonstration of hate, bigotry, intimidation.”
“Mr. Putin has decided to have some sort of meeting with the security officials, but outside of that, we’ve heard crickets from the Kremlin,” he added.
He stressed that Putin did not condemn the protests when they occurred the day prior.
“Nothing, and I think that speaks volumes,” Kirby said.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that “external interference” was to blame for the incident, which included people in the crowd holding signs saying, “Child killers are not welcome in Dagestan,” and, “We’re against Jewish refugees.”
Kirby mocked the notion that it was external inference, telling reporters, “Isn’t that sweet?”
“It’s classic Russia rhetoric isn’t it? When something goes bad, you’re blaming somebody else, blame it on outside influences. The West had nothing to do with it, this is just hate, bigotry, and intimidation,” he said, adding that a “good leader” like President Biden calls out hate for what it is.
The protest in Russia comes as Israel has expanded its ground operations into Gaza over the weekend, about three weeks after militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel.
Peskov said Monday that during the security meeting Putin called for, officials will discuss “attempts by the West to use the events in the Middle East to divide the [Russian] society,” The Associated Press reported.
“It is well known and obvious that yesterday’s event around the Makhachkala airport is largely the result of outside interference, including information influence from outside,” he said during his daily news conference, according to the AP.
Source: The Hill