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Russian state TV host demands Israel sanctions

Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov has said that Israel should be sanctioned for possessing nuclear weapons, as the nation intensifies warnings of an imminent offensive in Gaza.

Solovyov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and one of the best-known figures in Kremlin-backed media, made the remarks on his show that airs on Russia-1—an excerpt of which was shared on X, formerly Twitter, by the Daily Beast’s Julia Davis.

Russia and Israel have maintained a close relationship since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Kremlin has so far said Russia is extremely concerned by the “spiral of violence” in Israel and has offered to be a potential mediator in the conflict.

Solovyov’s remarks come after Hamas on October 7 led the deadliest Palestinian militant attack on Israel in history. The Israelis then launched their heaviest-ever airstrikes on Gaza. As of Monday, at least 1,400 people had been killed in Israel, the Associated Press reported, citing the Israeli military. At least 2,670 people had been killed in Gaza, according to authorities there, the AP said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country is at war and has cut off supplies of food, fuel, electricity and medicine into Gaza. Israel has called up 360,000 army reservists as it prepares for a likely ground offensive into the territory, which has an estimated population of around 2.3 million.

Israel has not publicly conducted a nuclear test but is universally believed to possess nuclear arms, according to the Arms Control Association, which states that Israel is estimated to have 90 nuclear warheads.

“I look at what is happening in the world right now and think, what’s most important is to remain human? Don’t become like an animal, in one way or another. This is not part of our culture. We don’t have this concept. We never said it anywhere that entire nations and all their people are at fault,” Solovyov said.

“I look at the way they say, in all seriousness, for more than 2 million people to get out of there,” Solovyov added. This referred to Israeli orders to evacuate the Gaza City area and move to the southern part of the besieged territory ahead of an anticipated ground offensive.

“Americans say, ‘This is normal.’ When you simply level cities and then say, ‘First, we will level everything, then we will work everything over with heavy bombs, to destroy all bomb shelters, and then we’ll cleanse it all’, they say, ‘Go somewhere over there’. But this is their land!” Solovyov said.

“We will never act like those who believe that an entire nation has to be destroyed! Oh, you don’t think it should be allowed for Israel to treat the Palestinians this way? Impose sanctions against Israel! Does Israel have nuclear weapons? Apparently so! Are they sanctions for having nukes like North Korea? No! Why not?” Solovyov added.

Newsweek has contacted Russia’s Foreign Ministry via email for comment.

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