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Russia slams Israeli minister's nuclear 'option' remark

Moscow 'shocked' by timeline to evacuate Russians from Gaza

By AFP

November 9, 2023 08:49 PM


 

Russia on Thursday criticised "absolutely unacceptable" comments made by Israel's Heritage Minister Amichay Eliyahu on the use of nuclear weapons in Gaza.

Eliyahu's remarks, from which which he later backtracked, prompted outrage and led to his suspension.

"We find these statements to be provocative, totally unacceptable," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

"Such statements imply that the entire population of the Gaza Strip is being threatened with nuclear weapons... Is that a threat of genocide?"

Eliyahu had told Israel's Kol Barama radio that he was not entirely satisfied with the scale of Israel's retaliation.

He responded to a question by saying dropping some kind of atomic bomb would be "one option" but later said his statement was "metaphorical."

Israel is widely known to have nuclear weapons but has never admitted so.

"These statements not only clearly confirm the country's possession of such weapons but also demonstrate its readiness to seriously consider their use in completely inappropriate scenarios," Zakharova said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the West for allegedly stoking tensions in the region and Israel for its conduct in the conflict.

The war started over a month ago when Hamas militants crossed into Israel and killed about 1,400 people, mainly civilians, and seized about 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel retaliated with a relentless bombardment and ground invasion which the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed more than 10,800 people, many of them children.

Moscow 'shocked' by timeline to evacuate Russians from Gaza

 

Russia said Thursday it was "shocked" by the Israeli ambassador saying it could take up to two weeks to evacuate Russian citizens from the Gaza Strip.

Israel's envoy to Moscow told Russian state media this week that with 500-600 people leaving each day, and 7,000 waiting to be evacuated, it could take two weeks to get Russian citizens out of Gaza.

"We were truly shocked to hear that statement," Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.

"This logic is unacceptable," she said, adding that Russia had followed all the requested procedures for submitting evacuation lists to the relevant authorities.

More than 500 Russian citizens are awaiting evacuation, Russian state media reported this month, citing Russian diplomats.

"There are a lot of children on the lists for evacuation from Gaza. We are talking about approximately 300 Russian minors," Zakharova said separately on social media.

"For a month they have been in a blockade," she added.

No Russians have yet been publicly confirmed as having left Gaza since the Rafah checkpoint with Egypt first reopened on November 1 to allow the evacuation of stranded foreigners and dual nationals.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the West for allegedly stoking tensions in the region and Israel for its conduct in the conflict.

The war started over a month ago when Hamas militants crossed into Israel and killed about 1,400 people, mainly civilians, and seized about 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

Aiming to destroy Hamas, Israel retaliated with a relentless bombardment and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip that, according to the Hamas-run Palestinian territory's health ministry, has killed more than 10,800 people.

Citizens of the United States, France, Britain and Canada are among those who have been evacuated from Gaza so far.


AFP


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