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22 Nov, 2023 13:29

Putin names Russia’s ‘sacred duty’ in Gaza

The president has said the country must help civilians trapped under Israeli bombardment
Putin names Russia’s ‘sacred duty’ in Gaza

Moscow has a moral obligation to deliver humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza, Russian President Vladimir Putin argued on Wednesday. The day before, he told other BRICS leaders that he had been moved by videos depicting Palestinian children being operated on without anesthesia.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) accused Israel of routinely targeting medical facilities. The international watchdog also said that child deaths were an everyday occurrence in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Addressing the Russian cabinet via video link, President Putin said: “This is a very important, humanitarian, noble mission. We need to help people suffering as a result of the ongoing events.

The Russian leader went on to describe the provision of aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza as “our sacred duty.

Attending an extraordinary BRICS online summit a day prior, the president noted that the “death of thousands of people, the mass displacement of the civilian population and the humanitarian catastrophe that has erupted” are cause for the “deepest concern.

When you watch how children are being operated on with no anesthesia – this of course arouses very special feelings,” Putin added.

While securing humanitarian truces is a key task in the short term, Moscow would like to see a lasting peace in the region, he noted. This can only be achieved on the basis of previous UN resolutions that call for the creation of two states – Israel and Palestine, the president said.

According to Putin, other BRICS member states share Russia’s stance in many respects, as demonstrated by the way they have voted at the UN General Assembly.

The group, he argued, could “play a key role” in resolving the decades-old conflict.

Earlier this month, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the UN Security Council that “on average, a child is killed every ten minutes in Gaza.” The official also said that Israel had attacked medical facilities, ambulances and patients in Gaza and the West Bank on at least 250 occasions since October 7, bringing the medical system in Gaza to “its knees.

Israel unleashed its military operation following a deadly raid by Hamas militants that claimed the lives of 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, last month. Since then, the death toll in Gaza has reached 13,000, according to Palestinian health authorities.

On Wednesday, the Israeli government approved a deal with Hamas under which the militant group is to release 50 hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian female and child inmates held in Israeli custody, accompanied by a four-day truce.

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