Moscow has expressed deep concern regarding the latest wave of airstrikes carried out by Israeli warplanes on the besieged Gaza Strip and is urging both sides to show restraint and immediately return to a ceasefire.
In a statement released Tuesday, the Russian foreign ministry described the Israeli bombing of Gaza as “dangerous” and warned it could lead to a “large-scale armed conflict” with civilian deaths occurring on both sides.
“Moscow is deeply concerned about a new round of tensions that may lead to a large-scale armed conflict, civilian deaths on both sides and the further deterioration of the already dire situation in the Gaza Strip, which has been under a blockade for years,” the statement adds.
Israeli warplanes have carried out more than 50 airstrikes on Gaza in the last two days, damaging around 500 Palestinian homes. Ten Palestinians were injured during the Israeli attacks in response to a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip during the early hours of March 25. The rocket hit a home in Mishmeret in central Israel, ultimately leaving seven wounded.
Gaza, considered by many to be an open air prison, is one of the most densely populated regions of the world. In 2018 alone, Israel killed at least 290 Palestinians including during the Great Return March while 14 Israelis were killed by Palestinians during the same period. During the last major war between Israel and Gaza in 2014, Israel’s IDF suffered only two fatalities.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, President Trump told reporters that Russian soldiers must leave Venezuela, just days after Russia deployed a military contingent outside of Caracas.
“Russia has to get out,” Trump told the media during a meeting with Fabiana Rosales, wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who he referred to as “the first lady of Venezuela.” When asked how that could actually be accomplished, Trump replied: “We’ll see. All options are open.”
Vice President Mike Pence was also present at the meeting with Rosales.
“The United States views Russia’s arrival of military planes this weekend as an unwelcome provocation,” Pence told reporters.
The rift between the United States and Russia over Venezuela deepened following the arrival of Russian military personnel to support Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro over the weekend. According to Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, the sending of Russian personnel was done “in strict accordance” with Venezuela’s constitution along with a bilateral agreement.
“We call on Russia today to cease all support of the Maduro regime and stand with Juan Guaido and stand with nations across this hemisphere and across the world until freedom is restored,” Pence added.