Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called for negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian forces and hoped the war would not expand.
Thousands have died over the last five days after Hamas fighters launched an unprecedented assault on Israel, which responded with a massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip which Hamas rules.
“It is necessary to avoid the expansion of the conflict at all cost, because if it happens it will have an impact on the international situation,” Putin said.
Parties “need to return to a negotiation process that should be acceptable to all sides, including to the Palestinians.”
He also said it was “necessary to engage in diplomacy rather than with the military side (of the conflict) to find solutions to stop the fighting.”
Russia has over the years maintained friendly relations with both Palestinians and Israeli authorities — though ties with Jerusalem have been strained by Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
While the West have condemned Palestinian attacks, Russia has so far carefully denounced violence from both sides.
It has instead blamed the conflict on US foreign policy “failure.”
Russia “could contribute to the settlement process,” Putin said, while noting that any mediation effort would be difficult given the gravity of the situation.
A day earlier Putin called for “the creation of an independent sovereign Palestinian state.”