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Putin Labels Gaza Conflict as 'Total Destruction of Civilian Population,' Not War

Russian President Criticizes Gaza Conflict, Offers Moscow as Mediator

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the ongoing conflict in Gaza, describing it as a “total destruction of the civilian population” rather than a war. In remarks to foreign news outlets, including AFP, Putin emphasized Russia's willingness to mediate in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“What is happening now in Gaza in response to the terrorist attack on Israel does not resemble a war. It is a kind of total destruction of the civilian population,” Putin stated. He attributed the situation to what he called a “total failure” by the United States in managing the peace process but expressed hope for Palestinian statehood. He suggested that regional countries, including Turkey, should play a key role in peace efforts.

The conflict in Gaza began on October 7, when Hamas launched a massive cross-border attack on southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 251 hostages. Israel responded with a military offensive aimed at dismantling Hamas, toppling its regime, and freeing the hostages.

“We are against terrorism in all its manifestations, against attacks against civilians at any place and in any country,” Putin remarked, as reported by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency. He criticized U.S. policies, stating, “They monopolized the peace process. They pushed aside all previously established mechanisms for collective efforts to solve this extremely difficult problem.”

Putin reiterated Russia's longstanding recognition of Palestinian statehood, dating back to the Soviet Union era, and expressed readiness to aid in resolving the conflict. He also highlighted Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s potential role in peace efforts, acknowledging Erdogan’s influence in the region and the Islamic world.

Erdogan has been a vocal critic of Israel throughout the conflict, comparing Israeli actions to those of the Nazis and meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul. Erdogan’s remarks have included calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza “genocidal.”

Putin also drew a stark contrast between the Gaza conflict and the war in Ukraine, which began with Russia's invasion in February 2022. Despite condemning the October 7 attack on Israel, Russia has maintained support for Hamas and continues to rely on Iran for military supplies in its ongoing war with Ukraine.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims that at least 36,586 Palestinians have been killed and 83,074 injured in Israel’s military offensive since October 7. These figures, however, are unverifiable, with around 24,000 fatalities identified at hospitals. Hamas does not differentiate between combatants and civilians in its casualty reports.

Israel asserts that it has killed approximately 15,000 Hamas operatives in battle and that 1,000 terrorists were killed inside Israel on October 7. The IDF reports 294 soldiers killed during the ground offensive, alongside one civilian Defense Ministry contractor.

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