In a striking rebuke of Russia and its tactics, the White House has compared the disturbing scene of the storming of a Russian airport by masked, heavily armed men to the anti-Jewish pogroms of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The incident in question occurred earlier this week at a Russian airport located near the Ukrainian border. The scene played out as a militia of masked, heavily armed men stormed the airport. According to reports, they took control of the building and its perimeter, effectively shutting down the facility.
In response, US National Security Council spokesman Ned Price issued a statement condemning the action. In it, he made the comparison to the anti-Jewish pogroms of the 19th and 20th centuries. He said it reflected an “increasing erosion of the rule of law and international order.”
Price went on to state: “These are the same tactics and attitudes seen in 19th and 20th century Europe when acts of intolerance and hatred were used against Jews and other minority communities. Such tactics have no place in modern, civilized societies and the United States calls on Russia to refrain from these practices in the future.”
The remarks echo the sentiments of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who had previously condemned the incident. He said: “It is concerning to us that what we saw in this incident appeared to be an attempt to intimidate and restrict the free flow of information in a democratic society. That’s something that we take very seriously and abhor.”
The Russian government and its counterpart in Ukraine have yet to make any comment on the incident. However, the incident itself and the response from the United States make it clear that tensions between the two countries are continuing to grow.
In a world increasingly dominated by authoritarianism, it is becoming increasingly important for members of the international community to speak out against such incidents and send a clear message that these kinds of acts have no place in society. Hopefully, the strong response from the US government will be a step in that direction.