Putin Urges Middle East Peace Talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, addressing the escalating situation in the Middle East.

The Kremlin, in an official statement, expressed Moscow’s commitment to aiding in averting a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, actively involving itself in the ongoing Middle East conflict with a series of diplomatic calls to regional key figures.

President Putin conveyed Russia’s dedication to “ending the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation and achieving a peaceful settlement through political and diplomatic means.” The Kremlin’s official summary of the conversation, however, did not mention the ceasefire proposal Russia had put forward at the United Nations Security Council.

This crisis has diverted international attention from Russia’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine, providing Moscow with an opportunity to underscore its strong ties with influential Middle Eastern players and position itself as an advocate for peace and restraint.

Russia has consistently pointed to past U.S. policy failures as a contributing factor to the conditions that led to the recent eruption of violence in the Middle East. Furthermore, President Putin conveyed his condolences to Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding the loss of over 1,300 Israeli lives in attacks launched by the Islamist militant group Hamas from Gaza on October 7.

He also outlined the steps Russia is taking to normalize the situation, prevent further escalation, and avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. In response to these attacks, Israel has conducted ten days of intensive bombing, resulting in the reported deaths of at least 2,750 people, primarily civilians.

President Putin had previously acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defense but emphasized the unacceptability of a ground offensive in Gaza due to the potential for a high number of civilian casualties. In separate discussions, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi emphasized to President Putin that supporting the Palestinians was Iran’s foreign policy priority.

However, he noted that “resistance” groups made independent decisions, and there was a concern that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians could expand to other fronts. President Putin also engaged in conversations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

During his talk with President al-Sisi, he sought assistance from Cairo in evacuating Russian citizens from Gaza. During a televised meeting with officials, including intelligence chiefs and the defense minister, President Putin addressed the Middle East situation as well as the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov expressed concern about the deteriorating situation, describing Israeli military actions as indiscriminate and highlighting the high risk of the conflict spiraling out of control.