Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday backed Israel and said it has the right to self-defence in the face of Hamas’ terrorist attacks but called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital for durable peace.
“Russia believes that the conflict can only be resolved through negotiations aiming to create an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel has been subjected to an attack of unprecedented brutality and of course has the right to defend itself. Nevertheless, the conflict must be resolved by peaceful means,” Vladimir Putin said.
“Israel has the right to ensure its peaceful existence. The way I see it, in a situation like this and in this particular place, there is simply no alternative to two independent states,” Putin was quoted as saying by Russia’s state-run TASS news agency.
Putin made the comments in Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek where he met leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – a regional organisation of former Soviet republics.
This is his first foreign trip following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
Putin, however, warned Israel regarding the ground invasion of Gaza. He said a siege of Gaza will lead to a large number of casualties. “In my view it is unacceptable. More than 2 million people live there. Far from all of them support Hamas by the way, far from all. But all of them have to suffer, including women and children. Of course it’s hard for anyone to agree with this,” Putin was quoted as saying by Reuters.
He warned Israel against using cruel methods against Palestinians living in Gaza. Putin pointed out that there were calls even in the US for a blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on a par with “the siege of Leningrad during World War Two”, Reuters reported.
Putin is expected to travel to Beijing for the third Belt and Road Forum. Putin is able to visit Beijing and Bishkek because Kyrgyzstan and China are not members of the ICC.
“The civilian casualties will be absolutely unacceptable. Now the main thing is to stop the bloodshed,” he further added.