Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a telephone conversation on Sunday against the backdrop of ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip. As reported, it lasted about 50 minutes. The parties do not mention who initiated the conversation. According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu temporarily left the cabinet meeting to speak with Putin.
In the official reports about the conversation, which were published by the parties, different accents are placed. The press service of Netanyahu said in a statement that the Prime Minister of Israel “expressed his dissatisfaction with the anti-Israeli position of Russian representatives at the UN and at other venues”, and also “sternly criticized the dangerous cooperation between Russia and Iran”. According to Netanyahu, any country, if faced with an attack similar to the attack by the radical Hamas group (recognized by the USA and the EU as a terrorist organization) on Israel on October 7, would act in exactly the same way.
At the same time, Netanyahu “expressed his gratitude to Russia for its efforts to free an Israeli citizen who also has Russian citizenship” and asked Putin to put pressure on the Red Cross regarding access to the hostages held by Hamas.
The Kremlin’s message says that the focus was on “the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.” At the same time, it is said that Putin “condemns terrorism in all its manifestations”, but considers it important “that the counteraction to terrorist threats does not lead to such serious consequences for the civilian population.” The Russian side, as stated in the message, is ready to provide istance “in order to alleviate the suffering of civilians and de-escalate the conflict.” It is not reported whether any specific peace initiatives were discussed.
Recently, Putin visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and also received in Moscow the president of Iran, a country with which Russia actively cooperates, including in the military-technical sphere, and which supports forces hostile to Israel in the Middle East, including Hamas. At a meeting with Putin, President Ebrahim Raisi accused Israel of “genocide” of the residents of the Gaza Strip; Putin did not object.
On December 8, the UN Security Council was unable to adopt a resolution on an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, due to the US veto.
Deputy US Ambador to the UN, Robert Wood, called the resolution “unbalanced and disconnected from reality” and said that it will not lead to positive changes on the ground. Wood claims that the co-authors of the document refused to include in it the condemnation of the attack by the Hamas group on Israel and condolences to the victims, which is simply “incomprehensible”. The Russian representative actively spoke in support of the resolution and condemned Israel’s actions.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Sunday that Washington is in favor of a humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza, but – at the moment – against a truce, since the Hamas group has not yet been defeated. At the same time, Blinken emphasized that the Israeli military must do everything possible to protect the lives of the civilian population.
- Hamas attacked Israel on Saturday, October 7. During the attack, more than 1,200 people died in the country, more than two hundred were taken hostage, some of them were later released. In response, Israel launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of the group. According to the Palestinian side, about 18,000 residents of the sector were killed as a result of Israeli strikes and a ground operation. The fighting continues.