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Moscow not involved in Middle East violence – Italian defense chief

“Other nations have played with the Palestinians and Hamas, not Russia,” Guido Crosetto has said

Moscow did not fuel the conflict between Hamas and Israel, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto has said. Russia has called on the belligerents to stand down and warned against an escalation that could destabilize the entire region.

In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera published on Sunday, when asked to comment on the role of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the latest crisis in the Middle East, which has claimed thousands of lives, Crosetto refrained from making any accusations.


“Putin is simply observing, to see if he can take advantage of it. But there are other nations that have played with the Palestinians and Hamas, not Russia,” he said, without naming the countries in question.

The defense minister added that defeating the Palestinian armed group Hamas – which he described as a “terrorist organization whose goal is to exterminate Israel” – does not mean punishing the entire people of Gaza. He welcomed efforts to settle the conflict at a peace summit hosted by Egypt.

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Crosetto’s remarks came after US President Joe Biden drew parallels between Hamas and Russia on Friday, claiming they share a common goal of “completely annihilating a neighboring democracy.” Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov dismissed the statement as “an emotional moment,” adding that “it’s doubtful that this type of rhetoric is suitable for responsible national leaders.”


After Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on both sides to cease hostilities and start negotiations. He also said, “the risk of the crisis escalating region-wide is quite serious.” 

Putin has expressed concern over Israel’s planned ground operation in Gaza, arguing that fighting in the urban enclave with a population of 2 million people would involve heavy civilian casualties.

October 22, 2023 at 09:13PM


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