Given the Kremlin’s deepening alliance with Iran, which has itself been tied to financial support for Hamas, it remains unclear what interests Russia might ultimately have in the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.
In a recent conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a call for de-escalation on both sides following the deadly terrorist attack that left over 1,300 Israelis dead and many more injured or taken hostage by Hamas militants.
Russia previously introduced a resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for a ceasefire in the region, though that effort was apparently not part of Putin’s call to Natanyahu.
Instead, a statement from the Kremlin indicated that Putin offered his nation’s support in working to end the hostilities “and achieving a peaceful settlement through political and diplomatic means.”
The United States was among the nations that voted to reject Russia’s call for a ceasefire. The resolution drew criticism for glossing over the Hamas attack that sparked the current war.
Nevertheless, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia touted the perceived importance of the resolution, asserting: “It has contributed to launching a substantive discussion in the Security Council on this topic. Without our encouragement, everything would probably have been limited to empty discussions.”
The Kremlin asserted that Putin found common ground with the leaders of Iran, Egypt, Syria and Palestine on “the need for an early ceasefire and the establishment of a humanitarian truce in order to urgently provide assistance to all those in need.”
Putin also reportedly offered Russia’s condolences to Netanyahu over the loss of life caused by the attacks, detailing “the steps Russia is taking to help normalize the situation, prevent further escalation of violence and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.”
President Putin laid out the steps being taken by Russia to prevent the further escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip.
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) October 16, 2023
The Russian president responded to the unrest in Israel with a statement last week blaming U.S. policies regarding Palestinian settlements for setting the stage for the attacks.
“Settlement mechanisms have been established, but the United States has neglected these mechanisms over the past few years and decided to regulate everything on its own, did not use these mechanisms and in recent years has relied on meeting the material needs of the population living in the Palestinian territories,” Putin declared. “In fact, they tried to replace the solution of fundamental political problems with some material handouts. Of course, this is very important for people who have a low standard of living, it is important to solve socio-economic issues.”