Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that an expected Israel ground offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip would lead to “unacceptable” civilian casualties.
“The use of heavy machinery in residential areas is a complex matter fraught with grave consequences,” Putin said in televised remarks, “most importantly, the civilian casualties will be absolutely unacceptable.”
Russia has been carrying out what Moscow calls a military operation in Ukraine since February 2022, during which thousands of civilians are estimated to have died after strikes hit numerous residential areas across the country.
“The most important thing now is to stop the bloodshed,” Putin said, adding his country was “ready to coordinate with all constructive partners.”
On October 7, hundreds of Hamas gunmen broke through the militarised border barrier around the Gaza Strip into Israel, killing more than 1,200 people and taking around 150 Israeli, foreign and dual-national hostages.
Israel has retaliated by hitting targets in Gaza with thousands of munitions, in strikes claiming more than 1,530 lives — 500 of them children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
Russia has so far carefully denounced violence from both sides and focused on blaming the US for the conflict.
“The fact that a large-scale tragedy happened there was the result of a failed US policy,” Putin said Friday.
At the start of his time at Russia’s helm, first as prime minister and then president, Putin oversaw the second war in Chechnya, which began in 1999 after Islamist militants from Chechnya staged a raid in Russia’s region of Dagestan. The 10-year war killed thousands of civilians