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16 Oct, 2023 19:52

Putin speaks with Netanyahu and Abbas – Kremlin

The Russian president has offered to mediate amid the current escalation of Israel-Gaza violence
Putin speaks with Netanyahu and Abbas – Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and several other regional leaders on Monday, offering a way to de-escalate the hostilities.

Speaking with Netanyahu, Putin expressed sincere condolences to the families and friends of the Israelis who died and emphasized his strong condemnation of “any actions that victimize the civilian population, including women and children,” according to the Kremlin readout of the call.

Russia is ready to help end the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation and “achieve a peaceful settlement through political and diplomatic means,” the Kremlin added.

Putin also informed the Israeli PM of the steps Russia was taking to “help normalize the situation, prevent further escalation of violence and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip,” notably the key points of his earlier calls with the Palestinian president and the leaders of Egypt, Iran, and Syria.

Earlier in the day, the Russian leader had phoned Abbas, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

In the course of their conversations, according to the Kremlin, “extreme concern was expressed about the large-scale escalation of hostilities, accompanied by a catastrophic increase in the number of civilian casualties and a deepening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

Abbas, Assad, Raisi, and el-Sisi all expressed “serious concern about the likelihood of the conflict escalating into a regional war.” Everyone was unanimous about the urgent need for a humanitarian ceasefire, to provide aid to all those in need.

Russia wants to “stop hostilities as soon as possible and stabilize the situation,” Putin told his colleagues, revealing that Moscow has sent a “balanced and non-politicized” draft resolution to the UN Security Council, seeking an “immediate humanitarian truce.”

The “general consensus” between Putin and the leaders of Palestine, Iran, Syria, and Egypt was that the current “unprecedented escalation” was caused by the “long-term stagnation” of the Middle East peace process. The Russian leader proposed that the process should resume, with an eye to a long-term and fair solution of creating “an independent Palestinian state coexisting in peace and security with Israel.”

The Palestinian armed group Hamas launched thousands of missiles at Israel and sent its militants across the border from Gaza on October 7. As a result of the surprise incursion, more than 1,300 Israelis were killed and thousands injured, according to local authorities. Israel declared “war” on Hamas and promised retaliation, threatening to “flatten” Gaza.

As of Monday evening, the Palestinian health ministry reported that over 2,800 Palestinians had been killed and more than 10,800 injured due to Israeli airstrikes.