Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has issued shoot-to-kill orders against protesters to prevent unrest similar to Sunday night's anti-Israeli riot in neighboring Dagestan, state media reported Tuesday.
The RIA Novosti news agency said Kadyrov had instructed Interior Ministry and National Guard forces to detain anyone who takes to the streets in the Muslim-majority republic of Chechnya in Russia's North Caucasus.
“Otherwise, make three warning shots in the air, and if the person doesn’t obey the law afterward, make the fourth shot in the forehead,” the Chechen leader said.
“No one else will come out [to protest]. This is my order,” he added.
Kadyrov, 47, has ruled the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya with an iron fist since 2007. The region was devastated by two separatist wars in the 1990s and early 2000s.
On his personal channel on the Telegram messaging app, Kadyrov warned that any public rallies related to the Israeli-Hamas war would be “severely suppressed.”
“We must not go along with Russia’s enemies and undermine the situation from within,” Kadyrov said.
“We must be above all this and maintain order in our own land.”
Kadyrov echoed accusations made by other Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, blaming Sunday night's mob violence at an airport in Dagestan on “Russia’s enemies” abroad.
Approximately 1,200 people were reported to have participated in the Makhachkala airport riot, where crowds of men threw objects at police and searched the airport grounds for Jewish citizens.
Law enforcement officials have since detained more than 80 people on charges of organizing mass unrest.
During the unrest, Chechnya’s state broadcaster issued a statement calling rumors of Israeli flights arriving in the Chechen capital of Grozny “fake.”
Anti-Israeli and pro-Palestine sentiments have been running high in Russia’s North Caucasus in the weeks since the Hamas militant group’s deadly attack on Israel set off a relentless Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.