Advertisement

Putin says he's taking steps to avoid 'catastrophe' in Gaza

This pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russia's President Vladimir Putin attending a meeting with Thailand's Prime Minister on the sidelines of the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on October 17, 2023.
Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured in Beijing on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin has told Israel he wants to help prevent a humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

The Russian president spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday about the ongoing crisis.

The United Nations says more than one million people have been displaced from their homes in the Gaza Strip following Israeli air strikes that local health authorities have said have killed more than 3,000 people and left more than 1,000 missing in the rubble.

FOLLOW LIVE: THE LATEST NEWS ON THE ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR

The air strikes were in response to a wave of attacks by Hamas on Israel on 7 October that left more than 1,400 people dead.

Putin has held phone calls with a number of key players in the Middle East, including both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as Syria, Iran and Egypt.

Israel with Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights highlighted in dark purple. (Yahoo)
Israel with Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights highlighted in dark purple. (Yahoo)

The Kremlin said that in his call with Netanyahu, Putin spoke of "the steps Russia is taking to help normalise the situation, prevent further escalation of violence and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip".

"A unanimous opinion was expressed on the need for an early ceasefire and the establishment of a humanitarian truce in order to urgently provide assistance to all those in need," the Kremlin said of the discussions.

"There was also serious concern about the likelihood of the conflict escalating into a regional war."

Recommended reading

Moscow said Putin expressed Russia's willingness to work towards "ending the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation and achieving a peaceful settlement through political and diplomatic means".

The Israel-Hamas war has diverted some of the world's attention from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and despite remaining a pariah among many Western countries, the conflict has allowed Putin to demonstrate his country's strong ties with several key players in the Middle East.

Watch: Vladimir Putin arrives in Beijing for Chinese forum talks

But the UN Security Council rejected a Russian resolution on Monday that condemned the violence but made no mention of Hamas.

Four countries - China, the United Arab Emirates, Mozambique and Gabon - voted alongside Russia, while four nations (the UK, the US, France and Japan) voted against it. The other six countries abstained.

The Kremlin said Putin expressed his condolences to Netanyahu over the Israeli deaths.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport to attend the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, October 17, 2023.     Parker Song/Pool via REUTERS     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russian president Vladimir Putin arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport to attend the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China. (Reuters)

'Unacceptable civilian clashes'

Last week, Putin said Israel had the right to defend itself, although he warned that an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza would lead to an "absolutely unacceptable" number of civilian casualties.

Putin also spoke to Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Palestinan president Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Putin asked the Egyptian leader for assistance in evacuating Russian citizens from Gaza, the Kremlin said.

On Tuesday, Putin met his ally, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in Beijing, during an international forum which saw him also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

This pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russia's President Vladimir Putin meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on the sidelines of the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on October 17, 2023. (Photo by Grigory SYSOYEV / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GRIGORY SYSOYEV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, right, meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Beijing. (AFP via Getty Images)
This pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands during a welcoming ceremony at the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on October 17, 2023. (Photo by Sergei SAVOSTYANOV / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SAVOSTYANOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands in Beijing on Tuesday. (AFP via Getty Images)

Hungary has opposed many of the European Union initiatives in support of Ukraine in resistance of Russian forces and the pair reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral ties.

Putin told Orban: "Despite the fact that in today's geopolitical conditions the opportunities for maintaining contacts and developing relations are very limited, nevertheless, it can only cause satisfaction that our relations with many European countries are maintained and developed. One of these countries is Hungary."

The make up of the Gaza Strip (Yahoo)
The make up of the Gaza Strip (Yahoo)

The pair are said to have discussed gas and oil shipments and nuclear energy issues - Russian energy giant Rosatom is building a nuclear power plant in Hungary.

According to the Reuters news agency, Orban told Putin Hungary had never wanted to oppose Russia, but to forge close ties.