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Putin breaks silence on Israel-Hamas war

Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed U.S. foreign policy for the war between Israel and Hamas.

In his first public statement on the conflict, which has seen Israeli strikes on Gaza after Hamas militants attacked southern Israel at the weekend, Putin accused Washington of a pro-Israel policy that worked against the interests of the Palestinian people.

“I think many will agree with me that this is a clear example of the failure of U.S. policy in the Middle East,” Putin said at a Kremlin meeting on Tuesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani.

Putin said that the U.S. had tried “to monopolize” the conflict, but was “unfortunately unconcerned with finding compromises acceptable for both sides,” according to a transcript on the Kremlin website.

He said that the U.S. was not “taking into account the fundamental interests of the Palestinian people,” such as “the need to implement the decision of the U.N. Security Council on the creation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.”

When contacted by Newsweek, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said in a statement: “This is yet again another of Russia’s attempts to cause confusion and divert attention away from its own malign influence and destabilizing behavior. The United States unequivocally condemns the attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israel.”

Putin’s comments, made more than three days after the conflict started, have echoed sentiments by Russian officials and media figures that it was the West that failed to secure peace and security in the region.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the creation of a Palestinian state was the “most reliable” solution for peace in Israel and the Kremlin said that it was in contact with both sides to end the conflict.

U.S. President Joe Biden has described the Palestinian militant group’s surprise assault on Israel as “sheer evil” and issued a warning apparently aimed at its Iranian backers. The U.S. is increasing military aid to Israel, with the first plane carrying American weapons arriving in southern Israel on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes bombed Gaza repeatedly overnight Tuesday, striking more than 200 targets in a neighborhood of Gaza City that it said had been used by Hamas to launch its attacks, Reuters reported.

Israeli troops have killed at least 1,000 Palestinian gunmen, according to the outlet, which also reported Gaza’s health ministry death toll of at least 950 people in the Palestinian enclave.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Jonathan Conricus said that the Israeli military had rebuilt the barrier around Gaza that had been breached and that infantry, armored soldiers, artillery corps, plus 300,000 reservists, have been sent close to the Gaza border.

Update 10/11/23, 9:12 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from the U.S. State Department.

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