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Putin Blames Ukraine, West for Anti-Israel Airport Riot

Protestors on the apron area of an airport in Makhachkala. @askrasul / Telegram

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday accused Ukraine and the West of instigating the anti-Israel riot at Dagestan's Makhachkala airport Sunday evening, an accusation that Washington has called absurd.

Security forces have detained over 80 people since the incident, which saw rioters in the Muslim-majority region take over the runway in an attempt to encircle a plane that had flown in from Israel.

"The events in Makhachkala last night were instigated through social networks, not least from Ukraine, by the hands of agents of Western special services," Putin said in a televised meeting.

Speaking to high-ranking members of his Security Council, Putin said there had been "attempts" to destabilize Russian society and accused the U.S. of sowing instability in the Middle East.

"Who is organizing the deadly chaos and who benefits from it today, in my opinion, has already become obvious... It is the current ruling elites of the U.S. and their satellites who are the main beneficiaries of world instability," Putin said.

He added that Russian law enforcement needed to take "firm, timely and clear actions" in the wake of the riot in order to protect "inter-religious harmony."

Moscow regularly blames domestic unrest on external — usually Western — forces.

Putin's comments come after Moscow's Foreign Ministry accused Kyiv of playing a "direct role" in the Dagestan riot, an accusation that Washington called "absurd."

"I've seen their comments about blaming Ukraine. That is absurd," U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters Monday.

"We call on Russian authorities to publicly condemn these violent protests, to hold anyone involved accountable and to ensure the safety of Israelis and Jews in Russia," he said.

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