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Lavrov says Israel's bombing campaign in Gaza is against international law

by Nate Ostiller October 28, 2023 5:36 PM 2 min read
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov enters the hall during a meeting with African leaders at the Konstantin Palace in Strelna on June 17, 2023 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Israel's bombing campaign against Hamas in Gaza goes against international humanitarian law, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Oct. 28 on Belarusian state-run news agency BelTA.

"An absolutely unacceptable terrorist attack was committed against Israel, and Israel responded to that attack not being properly guided by the international humanitarian law."

He further added that it would be impossible to destroy Hamas without causing massive civilian casualties in Gaza.

It represented one of the sharpest critiques of Israel from Russia and a sign that their relatively good relations may be slipping. Russia and Israel have long-standing ties complicated by the significant Russian diaspora in Israel.

Israel has largely avoided taking sides in Russia's war against Ukraine and has not provided any meaningful military aid to Ukraine.

There are also segments of Russia's population more closely aligned to Palestine- Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov said on Oct. 10 that he would consider sending Chechen fighters to Israel to act as 'peacekeepers.'

Lavrov has refrained from referencing international law when talking about Russia's bombing campaigns in Ukraine, which have been widely characterized as being war crimes and against international law.

In winter 2022, as Russia was in the midst of its ultimately unsuccessful campaign to destroy Ukraine's electrical grid, Amnesty International described the deliberate targeting of non-military targets as unlawful.

"Carrying out these attacks with the sole purpose of terrorizing civilians is a war crime," said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, on Oct. 20, 2022.

A joint communique released by G7 leaders during their summit in May 2023 again condemned Russia's war against Ukraine, saying it "constitutes a serious violation of international law, including the UN Charter."

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