Netanyahu, Putin speak for 1st time since Israel-Hamas war

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since the raging war in Gaza broke out on October 7. During the call on Sunday, Netanyahu appreciated the Russian effort to release an Israeli-Russian citizen held by Hamas, reaffirming that the Jewish nation will use all means to free all hostages from the Gaza Strip, Xinhua news agency quoted a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office. He also requested that Russia apply pressure on the Red Cross regarding visits and essential medicines for hostages held in Gaza, according to the statement.

Netanyahu however, criticised the “positions against Israel that Russia expressed on the international community, including at the UN”. his office said. On December 8, Russia voted for a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, which was vetoed by the US. On its part, the Kremlin said the discussion between the two leaders “focused on the critical situation in the Palestine-Israel conflict zone, in particular, the disastrous humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.”

Putin reaffirmed his principled position of rejecting and condemning terrorism in all its manifestations, deeming it essential to avoid such grave consequences for the civilian population while countering terrorist threats. Russia is ready to provide all possible assistance to alleviate the suffering of civilians and de-escalate the conflict, according to the Kremlin. They also expressed mutual interest in further cooperation on the evacuation of Russian citizens and their families, as well as the release of Israelis held in Gaza. Putin and Netanyahu agreed to continue contacts, the Kremlin added.

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