Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov—a long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin—has declared his support for the Palestinian people in light of the recent escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinian militants of the Hamas group launched a surprise attack on Israel Saturday, killing hundreds of civilians as rockets launched from Gaza rained down on central and southern Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since declared war and called for a complete seizure of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas has held control since 2008.
In a post to his Telegram channel Monday, Kadyrov pleaded “to the international community” calling for a peaceful solution to the conflict, and said that the Chechen Republic is prepared to provide its own units as “peacekeeping forces” in the event they are needed.
“I appeal to the international community so that at least once they unanimously make a fair decision regarding the situation in Palestine,” Kadyrov wrote. “I appeal to the leaders of Muslim countries—create a coalition and call on those whom you call friends, Europe and the entire West, so that they do not bomb civilians under the pretext of destroying militants.
“We support Palestine,” he added. “And we are against this war, which, unlike other conflicts, can develop into something more.
“I myself have been to Israel. And our peaceful delegation experienced first-hand attempts at overt provocation,” Kadyrov continued. “Therefore, I call for a stop to both the war and any form of escalation of the situation. If necessary, our units are ready to act as peacekeeping forces to restore order and counter any troublemakers.”
Russian officials have yet to pick a side in the conflict, although speculations arose online that Moscow could have had a role in Hamas’ successful attack, which took Israeli intelligence by surprise. While officials say there is no concrete evidence that the Kremlin assisted or trained Hamas fighters, Russia’s close ally, Iran, has long funded the militant organization
Still, Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer told reporters Monday that the United States believes Iran is only “broadly complicity” in Hamas attacks, reiterating that there is no “direct information” linking the two at this time, reported CNN.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has said that the U.S. firmly stands with Israel, and has vowed to provide the Israeli army with military assistance in its fight against Hamas. U.K. Prime Ministry Rishi Sunak has also pledged to send aid to Israel, where at least 10 Britons are feared to be dead or missing amid the conflict, reported the BBC, citing UK officials.
The conflict in Israel may prove useful to Russia as it continues its full-scale invasion of Ukraine as a way to distract the Western world from providing aid to Kyiv. Ukrainian military intelligence has also accused Moscow of sending Western-made weapons seized in the Russian-Ukraine war to the Gaza Strip for Hamas fighters.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has also blamed the Hamas attack on U.S. foreign policy, writing on his Telegram channel Saturday that America has been “a key player” in the decades-long conflict in Israel.
“Instead of actively working on a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, these idiots have crept into our country and are helping neo-Nazis with all their might, pitting two close peoples against each other,” Medvedev said.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment via email Monday evening.
Correction 10/9/23, 6:30 p.m. ET: This article was updated to reflect that Ramzan Kadyrov is the leader of the Chechen Republic.