German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin for lamenting the fate of civilians in the Israel-Hamas conflict while his army wages war in Ukraine.
“It makes me more than furious to hear the Russian president repeatedly warning that there could be civilian casualties from an armed conflict,” Scholz told the German parliament.
“It doesn't get more cynical than that,” he said.
Israel has been bombarding the Gaza Strip in response to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas gunmen, who killed over 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took about 200 people hostage.
The air raids by Israel have claimed more than 3,000 lives in Gaza, according to authorities in the blockaded enclave.
Israel has also massed troops at the border as it prepares for a ground offensive.
Putin has warned that the expected ground offensive would lead to “absolutely unacceptable” civilian casualties.
He also described a deadly strike on a hospital in Gaza earlier this week as a “tragedy.”
“This is a terrible event...I really hope that this will be a signal that this conflict needs to end as soon as possible,” he said.
Hamas said after the explosion on Tuesday that the cause was an Israeli air strike.
But Israel blamed it on the Islamic Jihad militant group and a misfired rocket.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday backed Israel's insistence it was not to blame, saying that the explosion was caused by an “errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza.”
The crisis in the Middle East has diverted international attention from Ukraine, which has battled to repel Russia's invasion for more than 600 days.
More than 9,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in February 2022, according to the United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Speaking to parliament ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, Scholz vowed that the bloc would continue to support Ukraine.
The meeting will address “how we can ensure that the necessary things are done this winter” as Kyiv prepares for fresh Russian assaults on its infrastructure, he said.
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