President Vladimir Putin has praised Egypt’s assistance in evacuating Russians from Gaza amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas
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More than 500 Russians and their family members have already been able to leave the Palestinian enclave
Cooperation with Egypt has helped to resolve many “difficult issues” linked to the evacuation of Russians from the Gaza Strip, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
Some 900 Russian nationals and their Palestinian family members have requested Moscow’s assistance in leaving Gaza due to the conflict. The evacuation has been ongoing for more than a week through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
“I cannot help but once again express my deepest gratitude to [Egyptian] President [Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi and all Egyptian colleagues for the help in resolving many difficult issues linked to the reception of the Russian nationals that got out of the conflict zone and their further travel to Russia,” Putin told an online BRICS summit that was also joined by the Egyptian president and some other Middle Eastern leaders, among others.
The first group of evacuees left on November 12. Since that time, as many as 558 Russian nationals and their families have been evacuated from Gaza, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement last Sunday. The evacuees go first to the Egyptian capital and then fly to Russia on board special Emergencies Ministry aircraft. The Russian government has flown 408 of them from Cairo to Moscow so far.
The Russian president also pointed to the need for humanitarian pauses in Gaza, which he said were required for “continued efforts to free the hostages” taken by the Hamas militants as well as “evacuation of civilians and foreign nationals.”
Achieving “a truly lasting and sustainable ceasefire” is “the most pressing task” of the moment, Putin said. The Israeli military operation in the Palestinian enclave has been continuing for more than a month.
West Jerusalem launched the campaign in response to a surprise attack by Hamas that killed some 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, on October 7. Since that time, the Gaza death toll linked to Israeli bombardments and the accompanying ground operation has risen to 13,000, according to local health authorities.
In his speech on Tuesday, Putin said it was most important to prevent the conflict from spreading beyond Gaza and dragging in other nations in the region.