Russia Warns Israel It Won't Tolerate More Civilian Casualties in Gaza Conflict

Amid international pressure, Israel has refused to back down from the conflict with Hamas. Meanwhile, Russia has warned the Jewish State of engaging in further violence that costs civilians' lives.

As reported by the Associated Press, as of Wednesday, about 219 Palestinians have been killed in the current fighting, while Israel has seen 12 casualties. The rising number of deaths and injuries have raised calls from around the world for Israel to mount a "proportionate" response to the attacks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has denied Israel has done anything beyond defending itself and vowed to continue until Hamas is deterred from future violence.

The escalating conflict is of "extreme concern" to the Kremlin, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov urged Israel to carefully consider the actions they take.

"In a frank exchange of opinion on the situation in the Israeli-Palestinian relations, including the one in the Gaza Strip, the Russian side expressed extreme concern over the escalation of tensions and stressed the impermissibility of steps fraught with more civilian casualties," Bogdanov told Alexander Ben Zvi, Israel's ambassador in Moscow, on Wednesday, according to state news agency TASS.

Russia's "very closely monitoring the developments" in the area, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. Peskov urged both parties to be "utterly cautious in their statements" so as to not "add fuel to the fire."

Peskov also said Russia is willing to play host to conversations and was making "initiatives within its powers" to serve as a venue for direct contacts.

russia isarel civilian casualty
A Russian official warned Israel on Wednesday against engaging in actions that contribute to additional civilian casualties in the Gaza conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting at Prime Minister's Office on January 23, 2020, in Jerusalem, Israel. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Newsweek reached out to the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Russia isn't the only country calling for an end to the violence. While the United States wouldn't sign onto a United Nations Security Council statement urging a ceasefire, President Joe Biden publicly backed such a move on Monday.

In a call with Netanyahu on Wednesday, Biden told the prime minister he expected a "significant de-escalation" from Israel "on the path to a ceasefire."

It's unclear if Biden's expectations will be met, as Netanyahu has given no signs he's ready to reduce Israeli efforts in the conflict. In a briefing with foreign ambassadors on Wednesday, Netanyahu said there was no "stopwatch on our hand" of when the conflict will end, and the focus is making sure they "meet the goals of this operation."

Those goals, as Netanyahu has outlined, are to deter Hamas from future attacks and hinder its ability to launch offensives. He criticized Hamas for using civilians in their battles, which he said is contributing to the high death toll.

Netanyahu lauded Israel's attempt to target Hamas with "great precision," and called criticism against the country for the civilian death toll "absurd," "unjust" and "untrue."

While he has no time frame for when the conflict will end, Netanyahu said at Wednesday's meeting that he's hopeful they can "restore quiet" quickly.