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Poroshenko said he was “absolutely convinced” of Russian hands in preparing for the attack and alleged that Russian instructors affiliated with the Wagner Group were transferred from Syria to Gaza to train terrorists.


Russia's President Putin Attends The Eurasian Commonweath of Independent States

Putin said Friday that Israel has the right to defend itself (Image: Getty)

Poroshenko said he was “absolutely convinced” of Russian hands in preparing for the attack and alleged that Russian instructors affiliated with the Wagner Group were transferred from Syria to Gaza to train terrorists.

Speaking to Euractiv, he said: “I am absolutely convinced that there is a Russian interest, Russian hands, in preparing for the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel.

“I am absolutely sure that Wagner’s Russian instructors in Syria were transferred to Hamas in Gaza and took part in training terrorists to prepare the absolutely barbaric attack against Israel from Gaza.”

Hamas denies any communication from Egypt on opening of Rafah border crossing

posted at 12:32:10 UTC via aa.com.tr

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GAZA CITY, Palestine 

The head of the media office in Gaza on Monday denied any contact from Egypt on the opening of the Rafah border crossing.

“We have not received any communication or confirmation from the Egyptian side regarding the intention to open the Rafah border today. Everything being circulated, especially in Israeli media, is unsubstantiated,” Salama Marouf said.

There have also been reports in Western media on a five-hour cease-fire in the southern Gaza Strip to facilitate the evacuation of civilians to Egypt, but without any official confirmation.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, after a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday, said “Rafah will be reopened” to get the assistance in and to get it to people who need it.

Israeli forces have launched a sustained military push against the Gaza Strip, a response to a military offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas in Israeli territories.

The conflict began when Hamas on Oct. 7 initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air.

Hamas said the offensive was in retaliation for the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has endured a crippling siege since 2007, as well as ordering over 1 million Gazans in the northern strip to evacuate to the south.

*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.

Russia's President Putin Attends The Eurasian Commonweath of Independent StatesPutin said Friday that Israel has the right to defend itself (Image: Getty)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Israel has the right to defend itself after the brutal Hamas attack but warned against hurting civilians in Gaza.

But former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of being involved in the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

Poroshenko said he was “absolutely convinced” of Russian hands in preparing for the attack and alleged that Russian instructors affiliated with the Wagner Group were transferred from Syria to Gaza to train terrorists.

Speaking to Euractiv, he said: “I am absolutely convinced that there is a Russian interest, Russian hands, in preparing for the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel.

“I am absolutely sure that Wagner’s Russian instructors in Syria were transferred to Hamas in Gaza and took part in training terrorists to prepare the absolutely barbaric attack against Israel from Gaza.”

TOPSHOT-PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICTThousands of people have been killed and injured since the attacks started last week (Image: Getty)

Russia has denied any involvement in the Hamas attack.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with leaders of ex-Soviet nations in Kyrgyzstan, Putin said that “Israel faced an attack that was unprecedented not only in its scale, but also its cruelty.”

He charged that Israel is responding to the attack “on a large scale also using cruel methods,” adding that “Israel certainly has the right to ensure its security”.

Putin warned against an onslaught on Gaza, saying it would be unacceptable.

He noted that “not all people there support Hamas.”

He stressed that Russia has had longtime friendly ties with both Israel and the Palestinians and would be ready to help mediate a settlement.

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President Putin at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Kursk, a major WWII battle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Photo: TNS

  • Russian leader was speaking after Israel’s military called for 1 million civilians of Gaza to relocate within 24 hours, as it amassed tanks ahead of invasion
  • Putin, whose own military has devastated Ukraine and killed thousands, said using heavy weaponry in residential areas was ‘fraught with serious consequences’
Reuters
Published: 7:40pm, 13 Oct, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza would result in a level of civilian casualties that would be “absolutely unacceptable”.

Putin was speaking after Israel’s military called for all civilians of Gaza City – more than 1 million people – to relocate south within 24 hours, as it amassed tanks ahead of an expected ground invasion in response to a devastating weekend attack by the Islamist militant group Hamas.

Putin, whose own military has wrought devastation in Ukraine and killed thousands of civilians in nearly 20 months of war, said that using heavy weaponry in residential areas was “fraught with serious consequences for all sides”.

“And most importantly, the civilian casualties will be absolutely unacceptable. Now the main thing is to stop the bloodshed,” he said, speaking at a summit in Kyrgyzstan with other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union.

Putin said, however, that Israel had the right to defend itself after being subjected to “an attack unprecedented in its cruelty”.

He called for collective efforts to secure an early ceasefire and stabilise the situation on the ground.

“Russia is ready to coordinate with all constructively minded partners,” Putin said.

He said negotiations should be directed towards a two-state solution of the Middle East conflict in which Palestinians would get their own state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Putin repeated previous criticism of the United States, saying the current tragedy was the outcome of the failure of US policy in the Middle East.

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Russia’s Putin, right, greets Israel’s Netanyahu in Moscow, Russia in January, 2020. Photo: AP

Russia has long-standing ties to both Israel and the Palestinians, including Hamas, but its relations with Israel have come under strain since the start of Ukraine war.

On Thursday, Moscow urged Israel to agree to a ceasefire to allow food and medicine into Gaza and said it was unacceptable that the “indiscriminate” bombing of the small, blockaded coastal territory was causing so many civilian casualties.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said a deputy minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, met the Lebanese ambassador to Moscow on Friday to discuss the crisis.

It said their conversation emphasised “the inadmissibility of the spread of armed confrontation to Lebanon and other states in the region, the danger of a growing humanitarian crisis and a new massive influx of Palestinian refugees”.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin could stare down renewed Western support for Ukraine in the wake of days of bloodshed in Israel and Gaza, one expert has told Newsweek, as the death toll following the weekend’s violence rises.

“The recent escalation in the Middle East will only encourage Western countries for a more radical approach when it comes to supporting their allies,” Oleksandr Kraiev, an expert on U.S. foreign policy with the Ukrainian think tank Prism, told Newsweek.

“It is not about ‘less weapons, more peace.’ It is about providing tools for safeguarding peace,” Kraiev said. “So Israel may play into Ukrainian hands.”

Shortly after Palestinian militants fighting for Hamas launched coordinated land, sea, and air attacks on Israel early on Saturday and Israel started waves of air strikes on Gaza, the United States threw its weight behind Israel.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Washington would “offer all appropriate means of support” to Israel after the “horrific and ongoing attacks,” adding that the U.S. “unequivocally condemned this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the United Kingdom was “unequivocally” supporting Israel. London is “poised” to support Israel militarily should it request such assistance.

Unveiling a new military aid package in mid-September, Biden said U.S. support for Ukraine was focused on Kyiv’s “long-term security” and making sure that Ukraine is “capable of deterring future threats against sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom.”

“Because that’s what this is all about—the future, the future of freedom,” Biden said. “America can never, will never walk away from that.”

Kyiv is heavily reliant on Western aid, notably from the U.S., to sustain its grinding war effort against Russian forces in eastern and southern Ukraine. But some in Kyiv may have been feeling anxiety after the U.S. only narrowly avoided a government shutdown in late September by stripping away aid for Ukraine.

On Saturday, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggested that the Kremlin was already using the Hamas attacks as a weapon to divert Western attention from Ukraine and erode the appetite in the West to send military aid to Kyiv.

Moscow was hoping to “target Western audiences to drive a wedge in military support for Ukraine,” the ISW said over the weekend.

Russia’s most prominent propaganda voices see Hamas’ attacks on Israel as “something that may affect the U.S.,” and “any such disturbance is good news for Russia,” Kraiev said. However, there is growing concern among Ukrainian experts about the idea of “Israel-style guarantees,” he added.

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Sochi, on October 6, 2023. Putin could stare down renewed Western support for Ukraine in the wake of bloodshed in Israel and Gaza, an expert told Newsweek. Contributor/Getty Images

Ukraine has long petitioned NATO member states for fully-fledged membership to the alliance, which has been promised to Kyiv at an unspecified point further down the line. But NATO is unlikely to admit Ukraine as a member until the war with Russia is over, as its membership would obligate the alliance to join the full-scale war against Moscow under Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty.

The idea of “Israel-style security guarantees” has been banded about for months, which would effectively mean robust military and security support and training without the binding Article 5.

“Current developments show that there is still a big lag between the actual assault and the support arriving from the partner states,” Kraiev said. This has spurred Ukraine to feel more certain than ever that “only full-fledged NATO membership can be a decisive guarantee for Ukrainian security in the future, not only political and resource support of ‘Israel scenario.'”

Russia is already wielding Palestinian militant attacks on Israel as a weapon to try to erode Western backing for Kyiv and distract the West’s attention from Moscow’s war in Ukraine, according to a new assessment.

“The Kremlin is already and will likely continue to exploit the Hamas attacks in Israel to advance several information operations intended to reduce US and Western support and attention to Ukraine,” the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank said on Saturday.

On Saturday, Palestinian movement Hamas launched its most deadly attacks on Israel in years, firing rockets from Gaza as its fighters waged a land, air and sea assault. Israel then carried out strikes on Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, declaring Israel was now “at war.”

U.S. President Joe Biden said Washington would “offer all appropriate means of support” to Israel after the “horrific and ongoing attacks,” adding that the U.S. “unequivocally condemned this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza.”

But the Kremlin has spread information that largely blames Western countries for “neglecting conflicts in the Middle East in favor of supporting Ukraine,” the ISW argued in its latest assessment.

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks at the Grand Kremlin Palace, October 6, 2023, in Sochi, Russia. Russia is already wielding Palestinian militant attacks on Israel as a weapon to decrease Western backing and attention on Moscow’s war in Ukraine, according to a new assessment. Contributor/Getty Images

Following the outbreak of large-scale violence in southern Israel and Gaza, former Russian president and current deputy chair of Russia’s security council, Dmitry Medvedev, said that the U.S. had been “helping the neo-Nazis” rather than focusing on finding a Palestinian-Israeli settlement. The Kremlin has said its full-scale invasion of Ukraine is a “special military operation” to “denazify” the government in Kyiv. This has been rejected by Ukraine and the international community.

“What can stop America’s manic passion for sparking conflicts everywhere on the planet?” Medvedev, who is known for his bellicose and anti-Western rhetoric, wrote in a post to Telegram on Saturday.

In a separate statement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, appeared to blame “the West” for blocking peace-making efforts between Russia, the U.S., the European Union and the United Nations for the outbreak of renewed violence in the Middle East.

These suggestions from the Kremlin “target Western audiences to drive a wedge in military support for Ukraine,” the ISW argued.

Within Ukraine, these narratives “seek to demoralize Ukrainian society by claiming Ukraine will lose international support,” the think tank continued, adding they also serve to “reassure Russian domestic audiences that the international society will ignore Ukraine’s war effort.”

The surge in violence has claimed the lives of hundreds of fighters and civilians on both sides, with the tallies expected to rise in the coming days.

“Hamas has started a brutal and evil war,” Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Sunday morning. “We will be victorious in this war despite an unbearable price.”

Hamas spokesperson Khaled Qadomi told Al Jazeera that the movement wanted the “international community to stop atrocities in Gaza, against Palestinian people, our holy sites like Al-Aqsa [mosque in Jerusalem].”

All these things are the reason behind starting this battle,” he said.

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said on Sunday that Israel would continue action against Hamas’ “barbaric” attacks in the next few days.

“This is our 9/11,” he said in a video shared to the Israeli military’s social media. “We’re going to respond very, very severely to this,” he said.

Abu Obeida, a spokesperson for Hamas, said on Sunday that the movement’s fighters “continue to engage in fierce and heroic clashes, fighting on multiple fronts, inflicting casualties on the enemy.”

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By Chao DengSummer Said and Vivian Salama

Updated Oct. 15, 2023 6:29 pm ET

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(2 minutes)

CAIRO—Egypt is coming under intense pressure to allow refugees to cross the border and escape an Israeli bombing campaign and expected ground invasion.

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Palestinians wait at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Saturday.

Palestinians wait at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Saturday. (Ahmed Tawfeq/Zuma Press)

Egypt refused to allow American citizens and foreigners to pass through the Rafah crossing unless an agreement is reached to allow the delivery of water, food, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, Egyptian officials familiar with the matter said.

Earlier Saturday, a senior State Department official said Egyptian and Israeli officials, working with the U.S. and Qatar, had struck a deal to allow Americans to leave Gaza for neighboring Egypt from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. local time.

Egypt has said its side of the Rafah crossing connecting Sinai with the Gaza Strip remains open, but Israeli strikes on the Palestinian side of the border have halted traffic.

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A U.S. official had said that an agreement had been reached to allow Americans safe passage from the blockaded enclave to Egypt.

For most of the 2.3 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the Rafah border crossing represents their only potential exit, and the territory’s sole remaining lifeline to the outside world. Egypt controls the crossing under a 2007 agreement with Israel, but supplies coming into Gaza through Rafah require Israeli approval.

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