Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO on 30 January, 2020

Netanyahu Calls Putin Amid Worsening Ties With Russia

Public By TPS • 10 December, 2023

Jerusalem, 10 December, 2023 (TPS) -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a tense phone conversation with President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, the Israeli leader’s office confirmed, amid mounting tensions between Moscow and Jerusalem.

During the phone call, Netanyahu expressed “dismay” about the recent anti-Israel positions taken by Russian representatives at the U.N. and other international fora, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Netanyahu said he emphasized that “any country that would suffer a criminal terrorist attack such as Israel experienced would act with no less force than the one with which Israel operates.”

The Israeli leader also strongly criticized the Kremlin’s “dangerous” cooperation with the Iranian regime.

Netanyahu thanked Putin for his successful efforts to free Israeli citizens with dual Russian citizenship held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, adding that the Jewish state would use “all means, both political and military,” to free the roughly 135 hostages who remain in captivity.

The premier requested that Moscow put pressure on the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the remaining hostages and provide them with medicine.

Following the leaders’ conversation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov issued a sharp statement calling it “not acceptable” for Israel to use Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks as justification for the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

On Oct. 25, Russia vetoed a U.S.-sponsored U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Hamas for its Oct. 7 rampage in the northwestern Negev in which terrorists murdered more than 1,200 persons.

The next day, Israel condemned Russia after it hosted a delegation of Hamas terrorists in Moscow, calling it “an act of support of terrorism.”

The ambassador of Russia to the United Nations has also told a General Assembly special session on the current war that Israel does not have the right to defend itself.

Over the last decade, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against Iran and its proxies. Israel and Russia have security coordination to avoid firing on each other, but that arrangement has been strained by the war in Ukraine.

While there is no evidence directly implicating Russia in Hamas’s surprise assault on Israeli communities near Gaza, analysts told the Tazpit Press Service in October that Moscow will exploit the Gaza war to distract the world from its war in Ukraine and spoil Israel-Saudi Arabia peace efforts.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. Hamas currently holds 137 men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners captive in Gaza. Some people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.