MOSCOW (The Thursday Times) — Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concerns over the escalating conflict in Gaza today, pointing out the dangers of a potential Israeli “ground operation” in the densely populated region. His remarks came during a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States on October 13, 2023, where he underscored the risks associated with using heavy military equipment in civilian areas.
“We understand what it is, to say it semi-professionally, using heavy equipment in residential areas is a difficult task. It is fraught with serious consequences for all sides,” Putin elaborated, implying the challenges and human costs associated with military operations in urban settings.
The dialogue intensifies amidst recent reports by Human Rights Watch (HRW) about Israel’s use of white phosphorus in military operations in Gaza and Lebanon, a tactic that poses significant risks to civilian populations due to the substance’s incendiary properties. White phosphorus, known for its ability to cause severe burns and ignite fires upon contact with oxygen, has been utilised in a manner that HRW deems in violation of international humanitarian law, particularly in densely populated areas like Gaza.
“The most important thing is that losses among civilians will be completely unacceptable, nearly 2 million people live there,” Putin added, drawing attention to the high civilian populace in the conflict-ridden area.
In a turn towards diplomacy, Putin also offered Moscow’s willingness to act as a mediator in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, showing a Russian inclination towards fostering dialogue and potentially bringing about a resolution to the escalating violence in the region.